- Psychology/Princeton Neuroscience Institute
- The McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience
- The Scully Center for the Neuroscience of Mind and Behavior
Sabine Kastner studies the neural basis of visual perception, attention, and awareness using a translational approach that combines neuroimaging in humans and monkeys, monkey physiology and studies in patients with brain lesions. A major long-term goal is to provide a neural basis for human visual attention in the framework of biased competition theory. Other recent work has focused on the topographic organization of human higher-order and visual cortex, parietal cortex functions, object representations in human and monkey visual cortex, and the neural basis of conscious perception (as in biocular rivalry). Dr. Kastner earned an M.D. degree from the Heinrich-Heine University of Duesseldorf (Germany) and received a PHD degree in neurophysiology from the Georg-August University, Goettingen (Germany) after studying neural correlates of color vision with the late Otto Creutzfeldt at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biophysical Chemistry. During a first postdoc at the same Institute Dr. Kastner became interested in visual attention research while studying neural correlates of parallel and serial visual search. In 1996, she joined Leslie Ungerleider’s and Robert Desimone’s lab at the NIMH in Bethesda to receive training in human neuroimaging. In a series of influential studies that provided a foundation for the neural basis of human visual attention, she identified mechanisms of selective attention using functional magnetic resonance imaging operating in the human brain similar to those known from monkey physiology. She continued this line of research after joining the faculty at Princeton in 2000. Important findings included the demonstration of attentional modulation and neural correlates of awareness in the thalamus. Dr. Kastner’s contributions to the field of cognitive neuroscience were recognized with the Young Investigator Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society in 2005. Dr. Kastner serves on several editorial boards and is a Reviewing Editor for the Journal of Neuroscience and a Section Editor for Neuropsychologia. She is currently working on a book on the neural basis of human visual attention.