For the past 15 years, Shahin Nasr, PhD, has studied the visual system of humans and non-human primates using a variety of techniques, from psychophysics and event-related potentials (ERP) to conventional and high-resolution functional MRI, in order to understand the neural mechanisms underlying visual perception. His studies are focused around the idea that the visual system is a reflection of its surrounding environment. He believes that it is impossible to fully understand the neural mechanisms underlying visual perception without consideration of the statistics of natural scenes.

A large portion of his efforts are focused on studying neural mechanisms underlying scene and face perception. He and his colleagues have revealed the first evidence for homology between scene processing networks in humans and non-human primates. They have also shown the selective encoding of those features that are frequently found in natural and man-made scenes, such as rectilinear angles and lines in cardinal orientations, in scene-selective areas.

Currently, using high-resolution fMRI collected within an ultrahigh-field 7T scanner, he is studying the fine-scale organization of visual areas (in column and cluster levels), to clarify how different visual features (e.g. orientation, angle, depth and spatial frequency) are encoded within different visual areas. In collaboration with neurologists and ophthalmologists at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital, he is assessing how neurodegenerative and developmental disorders impact the fine- and large-scale functional organization of visual cortical regions.


PhD in Neuroscience, School of Cognitive Sciences, IPM, Tehran, Iran

Select Publications

1. Nasr S, Tootell RBH. Asymmetries in Global Perception Are Represented in Near- versus Far-Preferring Clusters in Human Visual Cortex. J Neurosci. 2020;40(2):355–368.

2. Nasr S, Polimeni JR, Tootell RB. Interdigitated Color- and Disparity-Selective Columns within Human Visual Cortical Areas V2 and V3. J Neurosci. 2016;36(6):1841–1857.

3. Nasr S, Echavarria CE, Tootell RB. Thinking outside the box: rectilinear shapes selectively activate scene-selective cortex. J Neurosci. 2014;34(20):6721–6735.


2020: Nominated By Harvard Medical School for Disney Award for Amblyopia Research