DiCarlo Lab team norms and values
- Shared norms and values: We co-create our lab norms, values, procedures and policies based on shared aspirations. We reflect on our behavior regularly — both individually and as a team — to ensure that our actions are aligned with the words written here.
- Scientific responsibility: We believe that the goal of science is to understand and improve the world in the public interest, a privilege that has been entrusted to us and others. We acknowledge this responsibility and bring to it the commitment and professionalism it deserves.
- Teamwork: We believe that science depends on teamwork and the well-being of each individual team member. We strive to make the lab a fun, welcoming, and supportive place for everyone.
- Constructive criticism: We know that the scientific process is critical by nature. We actively strive to find the strengths and weaknesses in today's knowledge, to help others find those strengths and weaknesses, and to convey this in a non-personal and constructive manner meant to improve the scientific rigor and value of one’s research and one’s capabilities.
- Individual journey: We understand that every individual is different and we respect everyone’s individual journey and individual goals. Regardless of where we each start off, we each strive to reach our highest potential, and we adopt lab policies that make that possible. We measure productivity based on each person’s growth, not by comparison to others.
- Cherish differences: We appreciate that individuals join our team with a diversity of learning styles and learning needs and we aspire to create a safe environment where we can each express our views, and where mistakes are considered opportunities for learning and growth.
- Inquisitiveness: We believe that there are no wrong questions in our group and that the asking is just as important as the answering. The PI strives to make every group meeting one in which this norm is actively practiced and encouraged.
- Lowering walls: We are committed to doing our part to remove unwarranted barriers into science and within science and to fostering a diverse scientific community.
- Life outside of science: We believe that the well-being of each individual derives both from scientific pursuits in the lab and a fulfilling personal life outside of the lab, i.e. a healthy work/life harmony.
- Availability: The PI’s ears are open to your professional and personal concerns. He is committed to helping you achieve your goals.
If you are interested in potentially joining us, we ask that you consider and reflect upon these community norms and values. If you join our team, we will expect you to help us uphold them.
Please see here for helpful guidance on how to connect with us — we are eager to hear from you!
DiCarlo Lab team members
James DiCarlo, MD, PhD
Dr. DiCarlo was named Investigator at the M.I.T. McGovern Institute for Brain Research and Assistant Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences in 2002, and was promoted to full Professor in 2012 and served as Department Head from 2012-2021. He was named MIT’s Peter de Florez endowed professor in 2015 and Director of MIT Quest for Intelligence in 2021. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 1998 and did his postdoctoral work at Baylor College of Medicine from 1998 to 2002. His research group is focused on understanding the neuronal representations and computational mechanisms that underlie visual object recognition in primates.
- Videos: DiCarlo on his group’s research and on Reverse Engineering the Neural Mechanisms of Human Visual Intelligence
- Video: DiCarlo (as BCS Department Head) on “Why study the brain?”
Visiting Research Scientists
Kohitij Kar, PhD
Kohitij (‘Ko’) got his PhD from Rutgers University in Neuroscience. He is currently interested in understanding the role of cortical feedback in object recognition. He is using large scale NHP electrophysiology along with insights from human psychophysics and computer vision models to guide his thought process. Additionally, he is also testing different chemogenetic tools and strategies in non-human primate models. Ko’s Website
Robert Ajemian, PhD
Robert got his PhD from Boston University in Cognitive and Neural Systems and originally joined MIT as a Postdoc and later a Research Scientist in the lab of Dr. Emilio Bizzi studying the neural control of movement. He joined the DiCarlo lab in 2017 where he continues to conduct his research and guide and grounds the DiCarlo lab in mathematical theory. Robert's Website
N Apurva Ratan Murty, PhD
Ratan received his PhD from the Centre for Neuroscience, Indian Institute of Science and joined the lab in July 2017. He is broadly interested in investigating the link between neural responses in the ventral cortex and perception/behavior, and how it unfolds over the course of development. As a joint postdoc with Nancy Kanwisher, he is currently setting up meso-scale high throughput neural recording techniques in macaques that would enable him to address some of these questions.
Yoon Bai, PhD
Yoon is interested in studying how the brain wires itself up to recognize objects. He joined the lab in 2020 and is investigating how the brain implements visual learning in the ventral stream using models, physiology, and psychophysics. Yoon got his PhD from the University of Texas in psychology.
Alina Peter, PhD
Alina completed her BSc and MSc degrees in psychology and neuroscience in Germany and the Netherlands, respectively (Bochum university, Maastricht university, Donders Institute in Nijmegen). She got her PhD with Pascal Fries, collaborating also with the labs of Martin Vinck and Wolf Singer in Frankfurt, Germany. She joined the DiCarlo lab February 2021. Her current project uses deep neural networks, electrophysiology and behavior to build models of processing in the ventral stream and beyond.
Michael Lee, PhD
Michael joined the DiCarlo lab in 2016 as a graduate student after receiving his BSE in Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering from Duke University. Michael's work as a graduate student focused on human learning dynamics and developing learning models that capture those dynamics. After successfully defending his PhD thesis in July, 2022 Michael has continued in the lab as a postdoc. He is interested in studying downstream projection areas of the ventral stream, and how they utilize sensory representations to form functional knowledge of the visual world.
Guy Gaziv, PhD
Guy is a Computer Vision researcher interested in the intersection between machine and human vision. His PhD focused on decoding visual experience from brain activity. Having joined the DiCarlo Lab in June 2022, his current focus is on harnessing contemporary models of primate visual cognition for neural and behavioral modulation of human benefit. Guy holds a PhD in Computer Science and an MSc in Physics from The Weizmann Institute of Science, and a BSc in Physics-EECS from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Guy's Website
Lynn Soerensen, PhD
Lynn is interested how the brain brings about adaptive and flexible object recognition behavior. In her PhD, she adopted deep neural networks to study how different forms of cognitive modulation may affect visual information processing and object recognition, in particular. Prior to joining the DiCarlo lab in February 2023, Lynn received a PhD in Psychology, and a MSc in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from University of Amsterdam, as well as a BSc in Psychology from Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf.
Syed Suleman Zaidi, BS
Suleman is a PhD student at the Brain and Cognitive Sciences department at MIT. He obtained a bachelor's in computer engineering from the NED University of Engineering and Technology, Pakistan, followed by a master's in neuroengineering from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. Suleman is interested in using electrical microstimulation and deep neural networks to obtain neural control in the primate visual ventral stream. Suleman is accompanied by his dog Lanai who is also working hard to get her dogtorate.
Lab Manager and Technical Assistants
Christopher Shay, PhD
Chris received his PhD from Boston University where he was trained as a patch clamp electrophysiologist. He joined the DiCarlo lab in May 2016 as Research Laboratory Operations Manager.
Sarah Gouldin, BS
Sarah received her BA in Neuroscience and Computer Science from Skidmore College in May 2021. Soon after she joined the DiCarlo lab in June 2016 as Senior Research Support Associate.
Taylor Pistone, BS, MEng
Taylor received her Master's in Translational Medicine from UC Berkeley-UCSF in May 2022. Prior to this, she received her BS in Electrical Engineering and Cognitive Science from Lehigh University in May 2021. She joined the DiCarlo lab in July 2022 as a Technical Associate I.
Computer Programmer and Software Developer
Chris develops and maintains MWorks, a suite of open source applications and libraries for designing and running realtime experiments, particularly in the domains of psychology and neurophysiology. This software is the backbone of our lab’s behavioral and neural data collection.
Jon joined the lab in January 2017 as a Software Developer. He develops and maintains databases and code supporting data packaging, analyses, and model development/testing as well as sysadmin for our lab's server and compute resources.
Mike joined the lab in June 2021 as a full time Research Software Engineer working on Brain-Score. He recently graduated from the University of Virginia with a BS in computer science, minor in applied mathematics, and a BA in cognitive science with a minor in philosophy. In summer 2020, he was an AI research intern with the SIGMA cognitive architecture group at USC, and at UVA he taught a class for three semesters on artificial general intelligence/superintelligence. He enjoys reading, working out, guitar, and pestering Michael Lee with philosophical questions of consciousness. He hopes to apply to BCS for a PhD in 2022 or 2023 to further study computational ventral stream models.
Marliawaty I Gusti Bagus, BSc Marlia joined the lab as a Master's Thesis Visiting Student in May 2022 where she worked with Martin Schrimpf and Tiago Marques developing more robust models of the ventral stream. Marlia received her BSc in Biology from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (University of Munich) and is currently completing her Masters work at the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences, Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität).
Tiago Marques, PhD Tiago got his PhD in neuroscience at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown studying hierarchical circuits in the mouse visual cortex. He joined the lab in 2019 where he developed metrics to benchmark computational models of the primate ventral stream. In the future, he is interested in using these benchmarks to guide the development of better models of visual processing. In October, 2022 Tiago joined Champalimaud Clinical Centre, Champalimaud Foundation as a Research Scientist and Project Manager where is developing augmented reality technology to assist surgeons in lumpectomy procedures.
Chong Guo, PhD Chong studied statistics/ML in Cornell University as an undergrad and got his PhD in neuroscience with Wade Regehr at Harvard University. As a postdoc, Chong worked at the intersection of ML and neuroscience. His projects in the lab were: 1. understanding how robust visual perception arise in the primate brain and 2. developing a deep neural network architecture for the dorsal stream of visual processing. In October, 2022 Chong accepted a position at Flagship Pioneering as a Techbiologist.
Joel Dapello, BS Joel joined the DiCarlo Lab as a PhD candidate in Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where he was co-advised by Jim DiCarlo and David Cox. Joel's PhD work focused on the the development of adversarially robust artificial neural networks (i.e. VOneNets). Joel successfully defended his thesis in August, 2022 and in October, 2022 he joined Altos labs as a Senior Machine Learning Engineer. Prior to his time in the lab Joel was the founding engineer at BioBright, and received his bachelors in neuroscience from Hampshire College. Joel's interests are centered around neural computation and information processing in both biological and artificial neural systems.
Tala Fakhoury, MS Tala joined the DiCarlo lab in July 2021. She received her BS in Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience from Duke University and her Master's in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her Master's thesis in Danielle Bassett's Complex Systems Laboratory on the dynamics of recurrent neural networks at the edge of chaos. Tala is very interested in neural prosthetics and neuro-modulation on one end, and in dynamics and network theory on another. Starting Septmeber, 2022 Tala joined Columbia University as a PhD student.
Martin Schrimpf, BS, MA Martin completed his Bachelor and Master degrees in Software Engineering in Germany (universities TUM, LMU and UNA), worked on recurrent visual processing at Harvard, and interned at Salesforce Research on architecture search for natural language processing. Martin joined the DiCarlo Lab in 2017 where he worked at the interface of computational models and the brain. One of Martin's achievements was the development of Brain-Score, an open source platform that focuses on using neural and behavioral data to benchmark and develop predictive models of the ventral stream. Together with Josh Tenenbaum, he is also working on expanding these approaches to language. Martin successfully defended his thesis in January, 2022, and thereafter joined the MIT Quest for Intelligence as a Software Engineer/Research Scientist. In September 2023, Martin will join EPFL as a faculty member.
Lawrence Udeigwe, PhD Lawrence is an Associate Professor of mathematics at Manhattan College and joined the DiCarlo Lab as an MLK Visiting Associate Professor at MIT in 2021-2022. His interests include studying the dynamics of synaptic plasticity and modeling normalization mechanisms in the ventral stream of visual processing. Lawrence's project at the DiCarlo Lab involved using deep learning and dynamical systems to understand surround suppression in the primary visual cortex. Lawrence obtained his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh where he studied under Bard Ermentrout.
Kailyn Schmidt, MS Kailyn joined the lab as the lab manager in 2010 and went on to be the lead technician in the DiCarlo Lab. She left the lab in March, 2021 and is currently the In Vivo Pharmacology and Vivarium Manager at Laronde in Cambridge, MA.
Sachi Sanghavi, BS, MA Sachi joined the lab in 2018 as a technician and left the lab in June 2021. She is currently applying to grad school programs.
Kamila Jozwik, PhD Kamila joined the lab in 2018 where she held a joint appointment with Nancy Kanwisher at MIT, and Zoe Kourtzi at the University of Cambridge as a Sir Henry Wellcome postdoctoral fellow. Kamila is interested in modeling the representations in the brain and behavior, for human and monkey, using deep neural networks. Kamila is now completing her fellowship in the lab of Dr. Kourtzi and remains an active researcher in our lab. Kamila’s Website
Hyodong (Hyo) Lee, PhD Hyo joined the Dicarlo lab in 2014 as a Masters student with interest in understanding the primate ventral stream and developing computational models. Prior to this, she received her bachelor’s in electrical and computer engineering from Cornell University. She completed her PhD in May 2020 and continued on as a postdoc until she started her position at Google in the Fall 2020.
Franziska Geiger Franzi joined the lab in 2019 as a Visiting Student. She primarily worked with Martin Schrimpf building the infrastructure for Brain-Score as well as pursuing her Masters Thesis project focused on building ventral stream models with fewer supervised synaptic updates but high brain predictivity and simulating how the ventral stream wires itself up. She is in the process of applying to graduate school.
Jocasta Manasseh Lewis Jocasta joined the lab in 2018 as a UROP. She worked with Kohitij Kar analyzing neural data and developing recurrent models of the ventral stream. Following her time in the lab she enrolled in the Master's in Bioengineering Program at Stanford University, and graduated in 2022.
Pouya Bashivan, PhD Pouya joined the lab in 2016. He received his PhD in computer engineering from the University of Memphis. He completed his postdoc in January 2020 and is an Assistant Professor at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Pouya's Lab Website
Rishi Rajalingham, PhD Rishi completed his PhD in the DiCarlo lab in June 2018 and is now a Postdoc in the Jazayeri Lab at MIT. Prior to this time in the DiCarlo lab, he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from McGill University. His research interests focus on understanding the neural processes underlying perception for brain-machine interface applications.
Jonas Kubilius, PhD Jonas joined the lab in 2015 and was awarded the Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoc fellowship with Hans Op de Beeck (U of Leuven, Belgium) in 2016. Jonas completed his postdoc in 2019 and is the co-founder of Three Thirds AI consulting firm.
Darren Seibert, PhD Darren Completed his PhD in the DiCarlo Lab in July, 2018. He is now pursuing his MD at Upstate SUNY in Syracuse, NY.
Shay Ohayon, PhD Shay joined the DiCarlo lab in late 2014 after graduating from the CNS program in Caltech. Prior to that, he obtained his MS in computer science from the Israeli Institute of Technology (Technion). Shay developed minimally invasive probes for deep in-vivo fluorescence imaging that would enable him to tackle questions related to functional connectivity in the ventral stream. In February 2018, Shay joined a research group at Google.
Elias Issa, PhD Elias came to the DiCarlo Lab by way of Johns Hopkins. He studies object processing in inferotemporal cortex using fMRI and neurophysiology. In July 2017, Elias left for Columbia University to start his own lab. Elias' Lab Website
Arash Afraz, MD, PhD Published as Seyed-Reza Afraz up to Dec 2008, Arash got his MD from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and PhD in Psychology from Harvard University. Arash finished his postdoc in the DiCarlo lab in January, 2017 and is now a Principal Investigator at NIH. He claims to be interested in almost everything! Particularly in object vision, history and visual arts. Arash’s Lab Website
Dan Yamins, PhD Dan finished his post doc in August, 2016 and has his own lab at Stanford. Dan’s Lab Website
Ha Hong, PhD Ha completed his PhD in the lab in 2015. He in now an Investigator at Bay Labs, Inc., a small startup company in San Fransisco. Other than sciences, Ha is a big fan of beer, coffee roasting, cocktail, Chopin, electronics tinkering, Feynman, piano, swimming, and typography. Ha is from South Korea. Ha’s Website
Diego Ardilla, MA Diego joined the lab in 2013 and completed his Masters in 2015. Diego used crowdsourced psychophysics and neural networks to explore, understand, and/or close the gap between human and machine visual intelligence (especially object recognition). Broadly speaking, he is interested in finding ways to improve life for humans using technology, which he has also been working on using music. Diego now works for Google.
Xiaoxuan Jia, PhD Xiaoxuan joined the DiCarlo lab in 2012. She studies visual representation and propagation in primates and mice. While in the lab, she investigated the unsupervised learning aspects of tolerant object representation. After completing her Postdoctoral training, she joined Allen Institute as a scientist. Xiaoxuan is currently a faculty member at Tsinghua University. Xiaoxuan's Lab Website
Abhijit Bendale Abhijit was a visiting student from University of Colorado - Colorado Springs. He greatly enjoyed the lunch time conversations in DiCarlo Lab. He has a modest ambition of solving the problem of Object Recognition and enjoys mountain biking. Abhi’s Website
Alexander Papanastassiou, MD Alex comes from a background of neurosurgery, and has completed his project with Hans Op de Beeck studying learning effects with fMRI. He is currently back in the world of human neurosurgery.
Ben Kennedy Software Engineer/Programmer. Ben is from an electrical engineering background, and is interested in developing tools to further research in science. The lab’s server misses him deeply.
Benoit Corda Benoit was a Masters student from the University of Technology of Compiègne in France. He completed his M.Sc thesis (Computer Science /Artificial Intelligence) working on computational neuroscience inspired by recent neuronal and behavioral research in the lab. His project in the lab was organized around trying to apply different models to perform motion tracking. Benoit is currently at home in France.
Charles Cadieu, PhD Charles’ Website
Chou Hung, PhD Postdoctoral Researcher. Chou investigated read-out/write-in from IT cortex with funding from DARPA and ONR. He went on to faculty positions at National Yang-Ming University (Taiwan) and Georgetown University. He is now the Army’s extramural Program Manager for Neurophysiology of Cognition, with particular interest in developing brain inspired novel AIs. His and other Army funding topics are accessible at https://cftste.experience.crmforce.mil/arlext/s/arl-opportunities.
Daniel Oreper Masters Student. Dan worked on a system for X-ray localization of electrodes in the brain, in pursuit of a Master of Engineering degree in Computer Science. Dan is currently working in Burlington, MA.
David Cox, PhD David obtained his PhD in April , 2007, from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. He went on to start his own lab at the Rowland Institute at Harvard and then became the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences and of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. David is currently the Director of the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab in Cambridge, MA. David’s Lab Website
David Doukhan David was masters student from the EPITA (France), where he majored in Artificial Intelligence and got involved in pattern recognition projects applied to music. His main project in the lab involved working on computational neuroscience projects as a Cell Be programmer using the PlayStation 3, among other projects. David is currently home in France.
Cesar Echavarria Cesar was a UROP in the lab and graduated from MIT in 2011.
Davide Zoccolan, PhD Davide obtained his PhD at the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste (SISSA, Italy) with a thesis on the neural coding of sensory motor responses in the medicinal leech. While in the lab investigated the computational properties of inferotemporal neurons underlying object recognition in cluttered visual scenes. He now has his own lab at SISSA. Davide’s Lab Website
Edith Reshef Edith was a UROP in the lab and Edith graduated from MIT in 2011.
Ethan Solomon Ethan was a UROP/Technical Assistant in the lab and Graduated from MIT in 2011. He worked in the DiCarlo lab for a year before beginning his MD/PhD at UPenn.
Hans Op de Beeck, PhD Hans received his PhD at the University of Leuven (Belgium) where he studied the processes underlying visual shape categorization in monkeys and human subjects through single-unit physiology and psychophysics. As a postdoc in the lab he investigated the effect of learning on object recognition in monkeys and humans using fMRI in a collaboration between Jim DiCarlo and Nancy Kanwisher. Hans now is Professor in Cognitive & Systems Neuroscience and Director of Brain & Cognition at University of Leuven (Belgium). Hans’ Lab Website
Jennie Deutsch Jennie was the Lab Manager/Technical Assistant in the lab and is currently working at GlaxoSmithKlein as a LAS Lab Scientist in Philadelphia.
Marie Maloof Technical Assistant/Manager of BCS Teaching Lab. Marie splits her time between the lab and the BCS Teaching Lab (see the Courses section). Marie is currently working in another lab in BCS.
Marino Pagan Marino was a visiting student from Pisa, Italy. He worked with Nicole Rust and Najib Majaj.
Nicolas Pinto, PhD Coming from a loving and supportive Portuguese family, Nicolas was born in France where he graduated with two M.Sc. in computer science (Software Engineering and Artificial Intelligence). Attracted by multicultural experiences and highly motivated by exploring intellectual opportunities abroad, he studied in Brazil, Korea and Switzerland before coming to MIT to complete his degrees in Jim DiCarlo’s Lab. Nicolas received his PhD from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences in December 2010. His current interests are in high-throughput computational neuroscience and biology-inspired silicon intelligence with emphasis on vision. Nicolas divides his spare time between sports, traveling and managing the music association he co-founded.
Mehdi Mirza Mehdi was a visiting student, working with the computational group. Having a background in Physics and Computer Science, he is interested in vision and object categorization problems and understanding how our brain does it and how machines could do it inspired by the brain. He is now pursuing his PhD in the Swiss Alps.
Nadja Oertelt Nadja first joined the lab as a UROP, and stayed to complete a variety of projects. She went on to work at the Rowland Institute with Dave Cox.
Nicole Rust, PhD Nicole obtained a PhD from New York University where she focused on computation and motion processing in visual areas V1 and area MT. The focus of her current work is to determine how selectivity, tolerance and sparseness interact and change along the object recognition pathway. Nicole has her own lab at UPenn. Nicole’s Lab Website
Nuo Li, PhD Nuo received his PhD from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences in December, 2010. He completed his postdoctoral research at Janelia Farm, HHMI in 2016 and is currently starting his own lab as a faculty member at Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience. Nuo's Lab Website
Najib Majaj, PhD Najib received his PhD from NYU, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship. He is currently a research scientist at NYU.
Patrick Mayo, PhD Patrick was lab technician and went on to obtain his PhD in Neuroscience in Marc Sommer’s lab at the University of Pittsburgh where he researched neural representations of time and their relation to visual and oculomotor function. Patrick now has his own lab at the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine. Patrick’s Lab Website
Paul Aparicio, PhD Paul obtained his PhD in February, 2013, from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. He then moved to become a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Institutes of Heath.
Yihvan Vuong, MEng Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering 2004. Yihvan is currently working near Washington, DC.
Tahereh Toosi Tahereh was a graduate visiting student from the Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences (IPM) and is now a postdoc in the Issa lab at Columbia University. While in the DiCarlo lab, she worked on comparing two datasets under the linking hypotheses which describe human object recognition behavior based on the neural activity in monkey IT cortex. Also, she enjoyed lunchtime discussions, spontaneous late-night discussions, and long lab meetings.
Phil (Xiyuan) Zang Phil was a visiting graduate student from Mines ParisTech (Ecole des Mines de Paris), one of the most prominent French generalist engineering schools. He investigated benchmarks of image datasets to provide definite evolution force for vision models. Phil is also interested in high performance computer techniques, such EC2 cloud computing, MPI and GPU etc.
Youssef Barhomi Youssef was Masters student from Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, France. He is interested in human-machine interfaces. He worked with Nicolas Pinto on object recognition algorithms.