Jennifer Schumacher

Ph.D. 2010

Thesis Title:

Human neurophysiological mechanisms of contextual modulation in primary visual cortex

Current Position:

Research Specialist, Otolaryngology-HNS, 3M

Undergraduate Institution and Major/Degree:

Arizona State University, BSE Bioengineering, 2005

Major Advisor(s):

Research Description:

My research focuses on high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the role of local neural inhibition in early human visual areas. Inhibition is a fundamental aspect of visual processing, playing a role in neural computations both between and within cortical areas of the brain. Understanding local inhibition in vision is important for its role in viewing and parsing natural scenes, such as separating figure from background. My thesis work thus far involves developing fMRI methodology to precisely define specific spatial locations in human primary visual cortex (V1) over time and investigating the blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) response to local neural inhibition via contextual modulation. Later avenues of research will include using natural textures to further study the neurophysiological mechanisms of inhibition and exploring the efficacy of video games for psychophysical experiments and perceptual learning.

Lab Rotations:

  • David Redish
  • Matthew Chafee
  • Dan Kersten
  • Cheryl Olman

Courses Taken Beyond the Core Courses:

  • BMEn 5401 - Advanced Functional Biomedical Imaging
  • PSY 5036W - Computational Vision
  • PSY 5960 – Signal Detection Theory
  • PSY 8036 – Feedfoward/Feedback Interactions in Visual Processing
  • PSY 8960 – Biological Basis of BOLD Seminar
  • PSY 8993 – Hands-On fMRI Training

Conferences Attended:

  • Brain ’07 biennial meeting – May 2007
  • Vision Sciences Society annual meeting – May 2007
  • Society for Neuroscience 2004, 2005, 2007
  • Gordon Research Conference: Brain energy metabolism and blood flow - August 2006

Selected Publications:

  • Schumacher JF, Quinn CF, Olman CA. An exploration of the spatial scale over which orientation-dependent surround effects affect contour detection. J Vis. 2011;11(8):12.
  • Schumacher JF, Thompson, SK, Olman CA. "Contrast response functions for single Gabor patches: GE BOLD over-represents low-contrast patches but SE BOLD does not." Under review at Frontiers in Neuroscience Methods. (31Aug2010).
  • Schumacher JF, Olman CA. (2010) "High-resolution BOLD fMRI measurements of local orientation-dependent contextual modulation show a mismatch between predicted V1 output and local BOLD response." Vision Research, 50(13): 1214-1224.
  • Olman CA, Van de Moortele P-F, Schumacher JF, Guy JR, Uĝurbil K, Yacoub E. "Retinotopic mapping with spin echo BOLD at 7T." Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Available online 24 July 2010.


  • Schumacher, J.F. & Olman, C.A. (2007). “BOLD Response to Local Neural Inhibition” [Abstract]. Journal of Vision 7(9): 80a.
  • Schumacher J.F. , Olman C.A. “Contextual Modulation of the High-Resolution 3T GE BOLD fMRI Response” (poster presentation). 23 rd International Symposium on Cerebral Blood Flow, Metabolism, and Function; Osaka, Japan (May 20-24, 2007).
  • Schumacher J.F. , Halloway-Nahum A, Olman C.A. “BOLD Response to Local Neural Inhibition” (poster presentation). Gordon Research Conference: Brain Energy Metabolism & Blood Flow; Oxford, England (August 20-25, 2006).

Awards and Honors:

  • NIH-NPCS Graduate Training Fellowship: 2005-2007

Professional Memberships:

  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Vision Sciences Society
  • Tau Beta Pi

Home Town:

  • Air Force Brat (i.e. everywhere)
Jennifer Schumacher