Doris Tsao is an assistant professor of biology and computation and neural systems at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). She joined the Caltech faculty in 2009, and prior to that was head of an independent research group at the University of Bremen. She studied biology and mathematics at Caltech as an undergraduate and received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard in 2002. Her central interest is in understanding the neural mechanisms underlying vision. Her lab seeks to understand how visual objects are represented in the brain and how these representations are used to guide behavior. Her lab is investigating mechanisms at multiple stages in the visual hierarchy, from early processes for segmenting visual input into discrete objects, to mid- and high-level perceptual processes for assigning meaningful identity to specific objects, to processes by which these perceptual representations govern behavior. Techniques used include: electrophysiology, fMRI, electrical microstimulation, optogenetics, anatomical tracing, psychophysics and mathematical modeling.
She has received multiple honors including the Sofia Kovalevskaya Award (2004), Eppendorf & Science International Prize in Neurobiology (2006), MIT Technology Review’s TR35 (2007), Searle Scholar Award (2009), Klingenstein Fellowship Award (2009), John Merck Scholar Award (2009), Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (2009), DARPA Young Faculty Award (2009), McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Award (2012), NSF CAREER award (2009), the National Institutes of Health’s Pioneer Award (2012), and the Minerva Foundation’s Golden Brain Award (2014).