Jillian Nguyen

Jillian is a PhD candidate from the Graduate Program in Neuroscience at Rutgers University. She holds a bachelor's degree in Biomedical Engineering from NJIT where she worked on an fMRI investigation in oculomotor learning under Prof. Tara L. Alvarez. She is currently supervised by Prof. Thomas Papathomas from the Biomedical Engineering Dept. and the Laboratory of Vision Research at the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science (RuCCS), and by Prof. Elizabeth B. Torres of the Depts. of Psychology and Computer Science, and the Sensory-Motor Integration Laboratory.

JIllian is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Honors Leadership Society, and an inducted associate member of the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society all of which she gained recognition for in her undergraduate career. Since the start of the PhD program in 2010, Jillian has been awarded the Rutgers-UMDNJ NIH-Funded Biotechnology Training Grant, been inducted into the Foundation of the UMDNJ Society of Research Scholars, the Rutgers Excellence in Mentorship Fellows Program, and has recently been selected for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2012. She is the founding vice president of the NeuroConnections Club, a graduate student organization built on unifying the neuroscience community through research and social activities at Rutgers University.

Her dissertation involves the study of top-down influences on mediating sensory-motor behavior. Jillian will explore models of visuomotor behavior to simulate realistic primate behaviors that engage action-perception loops when top-down and bottom-up visual signals compete with one another. By utilizing a physical 3D depth inversion illusion, she is able to study how differences in perception of a visual scene can influence our motor outcomes. Here is a video illustrating the stimulus used in her studies.

In collaboration with other members of our labs, she will test the predictions from these models' simulations empirically and will apply the results from her validation procedures to the study of several clinical populations: e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorders, Parkinson's Disease and Schizophrenia. 

Jillian holds a strong interest in applying neuroscience to finance for smarter decision-making, and to education to better tailor the learning environment.