Grantee: Mark T. Wallace

Mark T. Wallace

Mark T. Wallace, Ph.D.

  • Vanderbilt University

Dr. Wallace's research passions revolve around an inherent curiosity concerning how we perceive the world. Originally trained in a lab that focused on vision, he had that epiphany moment when he realized that a complete understanding of vision would only get us partway to understanding perception. This realization catapulted him into multisensory research - which focuses on better understanding how information from the different senses is seamlessly merged and integrated in order to generate our perceptual world view.

In addition to this interest in better characterizing and understanding multisensory function and its brain basis, Dr. Wallace has also become deeply interested in how sensation and perception ultimately relate to cognition. The view of his lab is that sensory and multisensory systems and representations form the "building blocks" for higher order cognitive processes. Although an intuitive concept, little has been done to examine the relationship across these domains. The current R21 project directed by Dr. Wallace seeks to map these relationships, with the specific goal of seeing how they change across lifespan, and the ultimate goal of extending these studies into the realm of cancer.

The final motivation for this work, and its relationship to NCI, is personal. Dr. Wallace is a cancer survivor. During and following his course of treatment, which involved surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, he became intimately aware of the cognitive implications of cancer treatment. These experiences have amplified his interests and his resolve to better understand how these treatments alter cognitive abilities, and to use this information to design therapeutic approaches that minimize these adverse effects on cognition.

I am interested in how the brain creates our perceptual and cognitive worlds, how perception and cognition change across lifespan, and the impact of disease.”

* The Behavioral Research Program is grateful to this investigator for providing a Sample Grant Application as an excellent example of grantsmanship. The Adobe Reader is needed to read PDF files. Download Adobe Reader for free.