John Maunsell, Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Maunsell is the Alice and Rodman W. Moorhead III Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, where he has been on the faculty since 2006. He received his Bachelor's degree in zoology from Duke University in 1977 and his Ph.D. in biology from the California Institute of Technology in 1982. He was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Peter Schiller at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Maunsell held faculty positions in the Department of Physiology at the University of Rochester and the Department of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine before assuming his current position at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Maunsell has made many important contributions to our understanding of hierarchical and parallel organization in the primate visual system. His work as a graduate student with Dr. David Van Essen included anatomical studies with which he formulated the original version of the now well-known scheme showing a hierarchy of visual cortical areas. As a postdoctoral fellow at the MIT, Dr. Maunsell characterized the separate visual "ON" and "OFF" pathways, and the role of these and other parallel pathways in cerebral cortex in processing specific attributes of visual stimuli.
Dr. Maunsell's recent work has focused on how behavioral state affects the processing of visual information. By recording the activity of individual neurons in monkey trained to perform carefully engineered visual tasks, he has shown that neural signals throughout much of visual cortex are profoundly affected by attention. His recent work has revealed that this modulation by attention is greatly influenced by normalization mechanisms that exist at all levels of sensory processing.
Dr. Maunsell's contributions have been recognized by many awards and honors, including election to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served on and chaired many panels and editorial boards, and has been a handling editor for Vision Research and Visual Neuroscience. He currently serves as Section Head for Sensory Systems for the Faculty of 1000 and Editor-in-Chief for The Journal of Neuroscience.