Training in Vision Sciences

   Interdisciplinary research and training in vision have a long and distinguished history at Vanderbilt University. Faculty from the College of Arts & Science, School of Medicine, Peabody College, and School of Engineering have collaborated over the years to provide an exceptionally rich environment for vision research and training. The focus of our efforts is to understand the mechanisms of vision and visual diseases through physiological, anatomical and imaging investigations. A central mission of the Vanderbilt Vision Research Center is to provide pre- and postdoctoral training to support the next generation of vision scientists. This mission is funded in part by training grants from the National Eye Institute.

A summary of the training program follows:

  • All pre-doctoral trainees work towards a Ph.D. through a specific department or program (e.g., Psychology, Neuroscience, Cell Biology or Electrical Engineering), whose guidelines for students and their courses are established independently.
  • Trainees in vision science attend vision research seminars across campuses and have an opportunity to present their own work and learn about that of other vision trainees through the Vision Training Seminar Series.
  • All trainees enroll in our semester-long course “The Visual System”, which provides in-depth coverage of visual neuroanatomy, physiology, psychophysics, machine vision and neural modeling. This course is team-taught by Vision Training Program faculty.
  • Predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees have access to all VVRC-sponsored resources, including technical support for computing and mechanical fabrication needs, for illustration and photography, and for assistance in animal care and surgery.

Administrative Structure

An Executive Committee comprised of VVRC leadership and other vision faculty handles major training program decisions, including pre- and post-doctoral appointments to our training grant, course selections, seminar speakers, trainee travel, and other discretionary options.

Application and Recruitment

Pre-doctoral candidates interested in vision sciences should contact VVRC faculty through their graduate program. Inquiries about postdoctoral positions should be sent directly to the potential faculty mentor.

Selection Criteria

Applicants must meet graduate school and departmental criteria for admission. The programs Executive Committee then screen applications for the following characteristics: 1. Evidence of strong interest in vision research. 2. Potential match between one or more program faculty member and the applicant. 3. Quality and extent of prior research experience. 4. Potential for a lasting commitment to vision research. All Vanderbilt research projects involving human subjects or vertebrate animals are reviewed by the University’s Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects or the Animal Care and Use Committee, whose guidelines and procedures have been approved by the Public Health Service. All trainees’ research proposals will be approved by the appropriate committee prior to beginning the project. For application materials or additional information, contact