Prof. Vilayanur S. Ramachandran

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    Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego, CA

    Curator and author

    Featured Author: Vilayanur S. Ramachandran


    Vilayanur S. Ramachandran is the Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and Distinguished Professor with the Psychology Department and Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Salk Institute. He was born in Tamil Nadu, India in 1951. He obtained his M.D. in 1971 from Stanley Medical College in the south Indian city of Chennai. He then went on to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience and experimental psychology from Trinity College, Cambridge, where his advisors were Oliver Braddick, Fergus Campbell, and Horace Barlow. After Cambridge he joined the Department of Physiology of the University of Oxford as a postdoctoral fellow under David Whitteridge, and later moved to the California Institute of Technology for a research fellowship with Jack Pettigrew. In 1983 he was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology of UC San Diego, where he has been a full professor since 1998. He is also currently the Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at UC San Diego, and an adjunct Professor of Biology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

    Dr. Ramachandran has received numerous accolades, notably

    • The Henry Dale Medal in 2005 and election to an honorary life fellowship by the Royal Institution of Great Britain
    • The annual 'Ramon y Cajal' award from the International Neuropsychiatry Society
    • The Ariens-Kappers medal from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences
    • The Padma Bhushan (the third highest civilian award and honorific title in India) by the President of India in 2007

    Dr. Ramachandran has published over 180 research articles in reputed journals like Science, Nature and Nature Neuroscience. He has also authored the acclaimed book 'Phantoms in the Brain' which has been translated into nine languages and formed the basis for several television documentaries.

    His scientific research interests span cognitive neuroscience, behavioral neurology neural plasticity and 'phantom limbs', stroke rehabilitation, human visual perception/cognition, and visual psychophysics. Among his landmark discoveries are perceived slowing of motion at equiluminance, stereoscopic "capture" using illusory contours, stereoscopic learning, shape-from-shading, and motion capture. Together with Richard Gregory, he invented filling in of 'artificial scotomas' and discovered a new 'dynamic noise after effect'. For more details of Dr. Ramachandran's research, visit

    Scholarpedia articles:

    Synesthesia (2008), Scholarpedia, 3(6):3981
    Phantom touch (2009), Scholarpedia, 4(10):8244

    (Author profile by Srikanth Ramaswamy)
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