New faculty interview: Cherlyn Ng
- September 8, 2023
- Assistant Professor, Cognitive Sciences | Ph.D., National University of Singapore
Research expertise: visual perception, neuroplasticity, physiological optics, psychophysics, computational modeling
Cherlyn Ng, UCI assistant professor of cognitive sciences, studies how the brain interprets visual information from the two eyes. “Since the eyes are each in slightly different positions, they receive somewhat different views,” she says. “Additionally, the two eyes also have naturally occurring optical imperfections that are seldom the same.” The brain must somehow integrate and make sense of these two differing sources of visual information. The mystery of how it does so with such little effort is the subject of Ng’s research. She uses a synergy of optical technology and human psychophysics to measure what we see while systematically manipulating each eye’s optical defects. “These measurements serve the eventual goal of computationally modeling neural mechanisms that convert the differing and imperfect sensory information from the two eyes to a single unified percept of the visual scene,” she says. “Such a model would help fill the longstanding gap in our knowledge of binocular vision. It also helps clinicians predict individualized time-course changes to vision should a patient undergo ocular treatment.”
Her work, supported by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, has been published in journals including Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PLOS ONE, Journal of Vision, and others.
Ng earned her bachelor’s in cellular and molecular neuroscience and Ph.D. in X-ray crystallography, both from the National University of Singapore. She comes to UC Irvine following a senior research scientist post in the University of Houston’s College of Optometry. Prior to that, she was a staff scientist at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Department of Ophthalmology. She looks forward to joining UCI and the Department of Cognitive Sciences’ rich intellectual, collaborative community.