Principal Investigator

Steve Van Hooser

Principal investigator

vanhoosr at brandeis dot edu  | 781-330-0397

Google Scholar | ORCID | CV  | github

Graduate Students

Víkko Manuel Suárez Casanova

In order to process the movement of objects in an animal’s visual environment, it is necessary for the visual system to interpret the direction and speed of the stimulus. Decoding the spatial characteristics of a stimulus is well understood: tuning in primary visual cortex (V1) for spatial properties – stimulus orientation, a specific oriented degree of shape within the visual field of the cell,  and spatial frequency (SF), or cycles per degree of visual angle, – does not change when other properties of the stimulus are altered. I propose to analyze the functional organization underlying stimulus speed processing, namely the relationship between spatial and temporal frequency and speed tuning using acute in-vivo electrophysiology and two-photon calcium imaging in the ferret visual cortex. 

Outside of the lab, I serve on a variety of committees for the university including the Task Force on Undergraduate Curriculum and the Joint Biology and Neuroscience DEI committee. Outside of Brandeis, I enjoy playing tennis, reading, and sleeping.

suarez at brandeis dot edu

[] [Twitter] [LinkedIn] [ORCID] [GoogleScholar] [MyBiobliography]

Rico Rodriguez

Rico graduated from Yale with a B.S. in Neuroscience in 2010, only to ditch science for computers over the next decade as a software engineer. He is now back in the neuroscience game as a recently graduated M.S. and current PhD student, but this time he is good at computers, too. In terms of neuroscience, he is interested in predictive coding in the visual system, as well as the effect of psychedelic compounds on low-level visual processing. Rico's main hobbies are fighting (Wrestling, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jui Jitsu mostly) and listening to esoteric genres of music (Technical Death Metal, City Pop, and Vaporwave mostly). Most importantly, he is family man with a Boss-Lady wife and highly energetic toddler.

rrodriguez at brandeis dot edu

Junior Junior Students

Ricky Rodriguez the IV

Ricky Rodriguez is a primarily interested in loud sounds, brightly colored objects, and throwing things. He combines those interests in groundbreaking interdisciplinary research that involves throwing brightly colored objects at hard surfaces in order to make loud sounds. 

rrodriguez at brandeis dot edu 


Avi Lepsky

I am a research technician hoping to pursue graduate studies in systems neuroscience. I recently graduated from Brandeis University with degrees in neuroscience and computer science. In the lab, I study the ferret visual system, specifically how speed is detected and the role of inhibitory interneurons in the visual cortex. I also contribute to the Neuroscience Data Inteface (NDI) project, a data analysis platform built and maintained by the lab. In my free time, I enjoy playing soccer and singing in the shower. 

avilepsky at brandeis dot edu 


Alex Stanley

I am an undergradutae research assistant in my sophomore year working on creating and building carbon fiber microelectrode arrays anc corresponding circuit boards to track neuronal activity in the ferret visual cortex. I hope to pursue a graduate degree in biomedical/biotechnological research. Outside of the lab, I enjoy reading and spending time with friends and family. 

alexstanley at brandeis dot edu


PhD Students, Postdocs, & Staff

Undergraduates and Masters Students