Entry Date:
April 7, 2008

Plasticity in Development and Disease

Principal Investigator Nancy Kanwisher

Co-investigator James DiCarlo

To further investigate the brain’s plasticity, Kanwisher has collaborated with McGovern colleague Jim DiCarlo to demonstrate changes in the brain when adults learn to recognize new and unfamiliar categories of objects. She is now extending her studies to children, in order to study how brain specializations arise during development and how they are shaped by a child’s experience. Kanwisher is also interested in the clinical implications of her work; she has shown for example that macular degeneration, the major cause of blindness in Western societies, leads to extensive reorganization of the visual part of the brain. Macular degeneration is a progressive disease of the retina, and understanding the brain changes that accompany this degeneration may be important in devising new rehabilitation strategies.