DIBS News

Student Spotlight

December 12, 2016

Sophie Katz


Class of 2017

Hometown: Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

Current research: I have been studying the face processing patterns that people typically display through eye tracking, including how those patterns hold up as faces become more and more abstracted as they do in artwork. This year, we are transitioning to study how those eye-tracking patterns differ in an autistic population. I work with Dr. Elizabeth Johnson and I was on the Bass Connections in Art, Vision, & the Brain team last year. I look forward to continuing my research with the Bass team and completing my senior thesis with Dr. Johnson this year.

My thoughts on neuroscience education: The best part of the neuroscience major is how inherently interdisciplinary it is. The science has social, moral, historical and medical implications that make your academic experience immediately relevant and applicable to multiple areas of life.

What jump-starts my brain:  I think it’s incredible to think about the scope of differences in the human race that are attributable to variance within the brain. Not only are there an unthinkable number of iterations genetically, but also epigenetically. Aspects of the environment can turn on and off our genes, leading to a previously unimaginable range of possibility for diversity, and all these possibilities for difference are potential targets for intervention.

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The Duke Institute for Brain Sciences is a scientific institute with a collaborative spirit and a commitment to education, service and knowledge across disciplines. We encourage creativity, taking risks, sharing ideas and working together.

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