It's time for Biomed Bites, a weekly feature that introduces readers to some of Stanford's most innovative researchers.
Looking out my window, I see a man dressed in red sweats on a bike. There's my neighbor's white truck parked in the street. A tree just starting to bud. A fire hydrant. A woman fertilizing roses. Closer, there's my grey-and-white cat, Grizzly, bathing in the sun. My glass of ice water. My phone. Scattered papers.
And that's probably only one-thousandth of the things I see right now. (I didn't even mention the computer.) How do I make sense of that visual onslaught? How do I navigate, perceive threats, respond to changing conditions?
Well, that's part of the puzzle Stanford neurobiologist Tirin Moore, PhD, is working to figure out.
"I'm a systems-level neurobiologist, which means I study how networks of neurons combine to either process sensory information or to control complex behaviors," Moore explains in the video above.
How do we filter out what's important - seeing the dog darting across the street in front of our car, but not focusing on the bird in the tree?
This process is most obvious when it breaks down, such as in patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or other attention disorders that affect from 3 to 8 percent of the population, Moore said:
At present, disorders such as ADHD are treatable, but their underlying neural basis is still very much a mystery... Our hope is that by understanding disorders of attention at the level of the neurocircuitry we will be able to arrive at more effective treatments...
Stay tuned to see what he, and his team, figures out.
Learn more about Stanford Medicine’s Biomedical Innovation Initiative and about other faculty leaders who are driving biomedical innovation here.