David Eagleman, Ph.D.

Lab Director


I am a neuroscientist with joint appointments in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. My areas of research include time perception, vision, synesthesia, social neuroscience, and the intersection of neuroscience with the legal system. I direct the Laboratory for Perception and Action, and am the founder and director of Baylor College of Medicine’s Initiative on Neuroscience and Law.  I am the founder and Chief Scientific Officer for BrainCheck, a company which uses interactive testing on portable tablets to measure brain function.  BrainCheck is currently being used in schools for rapid concussion assessment at the sidelines. 

I have written some non-fiction books, including Incognito: The Secret Lives of the BrainWednesday is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia, Why the Net Matters, and Cognitive Neuroscience (Oxford University Press, upcoming 2014, co-authored with Jonathan Downar).

Public understanding of science is a passion of mine, and to that end I have written for the New York TimesDiscover Magazine, Atlantic, The WeekSlate, Wired, New Scientist, and others.  I speak often on National Public Radio and BBC to discuss what's new and important in science. I have founded a prize in mathematics and physics.

I am fortunate to be a Guggenheim Fellow. Within the scientific community, I serve as an editor for Journal of VisionPLoS One, and Seminars in Brain and Consciousness.  I also serve on the board of directors for several organizations, including The Long Now Foundation.

My book of fiction, Sum, was lucky enough to become an international bestseller. It has been translated into 27 languages and was named a Best Book of the Year by Barnes and Noble, New Scientist, and the Chicago Tribune. British musician Brian Eno and I performed a musical reading of Sum at the Sydney Opera House, and German composer Max Richter translated Sum into a full opera at the Royal Opera House in London.  

My neuroscience book Incognito became a New York Times bestseller, and was named a Book of the Year by Amazon, Goodreads, Houston Chronicle, and Boston Globe. No one is writing an opera for that one yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Mingbo Cai

Graduate Student


Our perception of the duration of an event, and the temporal order between events can be distorted in various situations.  Through these temporal illusions, Mingbo is combining psychophysics, computation modeling and functional imaging to explore the mechanism underlying time perception.

Scott Novich

Graduate Student


Scott is a Ph.D. student in Rice University's Electrical & Computer Engineering department, working under Dr. Eagleman as his advisor. He received his Masters from the same department, but with a focus on cognitive wireless protocol design. His current research interest is figuring out ways to exploit brain plasticity for developing new ways of sensing information and controlling devices. He also works with apparatus design for the group's timing work, as well as performing analysis of the group's synesthesia database.


Ricky Savjani

Graduate Student (MD/PhD)


Ricky has been forever challenged by the mysteries of neuroscience. As an undergraduate at MIT, he quickly realized the power of computational modeling as a tool in understanding the brain. He wanted to integrate both of these sciences in a unique way and earned dual degrees in Brain and Cognitive Sciences as well as Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Ricky soon became interested in translating these discoveries to people and patients and is currently pursuing an MD/PhD through Texas A&M. At the Eagleman Lab, Ricky wants to help bring the innovating science to the clinic.

Sarah Schwettman

Research Assistant


Sarah is an undergraduate student at Rice University pursuing majors in Computational and Applied Mathematics and Asian Studies and a minor in Neuroscience.

Under the broader umbrella of Computational Neuroscience, Sarah is particularly interested in how cell assemblies store and process different classes of information. She is currently investigating the relationship between the complexity of visual stimuli and time perception.

Manu Sharma

Clinical Researcher


Manu is a physician by training and an aspiring psychiatrist. He has always been fascinated by the human brain. He wants to devote his life to try and understand how the brain cells function together to produce emotions and create the profound experience of being a conscious living entity. Currently he is working on developing a tablet based battery of psychophysical tests which would help clinicians objectively assess mild traumatic brain injury and schizophrenia.

Pablo Ormachea

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Pablo is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he won its largest student writing prize, served as co-Editor-in-Chief for the Harvard Latino Law Review, and co-Chair for the Harvard Latin American Law Society.  He has won several fellowships for international work, both for public service and for research abroad. As a Research Fellow in the Initiative on Neuroscience and the Law, Pablo studies patterns of crime and the efficacy of legislation using large scale database analysis.



McArthur, K., & Ormachea, P. (2007).  International investor-state arbitration: an empirical analysis of ICSID decisions on jurisdiction. The Review of Litigation, 28(3), 559-594.

Ormachea, P. (2008).  An empirical analysis of state ethanol production incentives: do they work?  Texas Review of Litigation, 4(1), 130-144.

Robert Brockman II

Research Assistant


Robert is a graduate student at Rice University working on his MBA and Masters in Electrical Engineering. His undergraduate degree from Rice was also in Electrical Engineering supplemented with substantial coursework in computer science and cognitive science. His main research interests are machine learning, robotics, and artificial intelligence. He has many years of experience as an IT professional, especially Linux system administration. On the rare occasions that he is not enmeshed with computers he can be found swing dancing and at acrobatic yoga classes.

Josh Jackson

Lab Programmer

joshjacksonJosh is a computer guru who has been writing software since he first found a book on the subject in his elementary school library. After spending some time in industry he is returning to academia  in hopes of pursuing the hard problem of consciousness and the question of friendly artificial intelligence.

Lillian Niakan

Summer Intern

Lillian is a medical student at Texas A&M College of Medicine. She received her BBA in Corporate Finance and a minor in Accounting from Red McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. Her interest in neuroscience first sparked as an undergraduate and flourished in her first year of medical school. She is currently investigating pupillary reactivity to drug cues for cocaine-dependent subjects.


Jennie Choe

Summer Intern

Jennie ChoeJennie is a student at Yale School of Medicine and graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2011 with a BA and MS, both in cellular/molecular neuroscience. She did her master's degree research at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, investigating the incidence of Alzheimer's-like neuropathology in individuals who have trisomy 21. She is interested in addiction therapy and the interdisciplinary nature of neurolaw research.

Christopher Chen

Summer Intern

chris chen

Chris is a student at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 2013 with a BA in Biology. He is in charge of researching and summarizing relevant literature underpinning a potential neurobiological relationship between criminal behavior, age, and mental health. He is also conducting original, data-intensive research using R to explore potential relationships between criminal behavior and traits of impulsivity and aggression.


Seán Judge

Research Coordinator

SeanSeán is the Lab Manager, bringing organization and sanity to the activities here. Outside the lab, Seán is one of Houston's most sought-after actors. Seán has always been fascinated by the inner workings of the human brain, and thrives as part of an exciting research environment.

Lab alumni

Aidin Ashoori, Medical Student
Elyse Aurbach, Research Assistant
James Barger, Research Assistant
Gregory Bohuslav, U.H. Undergraduate Research Student
Hannah Bosley, Research Assistant
Benjamin Bumann, Research Assistant
Sherry Cheng, Research Assistant
Sara Churchill, Research Assistant
Daniel Dascenco, International summer student
Evan Delacruz, Programmer
Matthew Fiesta, Summer Research Medical Student
Shilpa Gandhi, Research Assistant
Josh Hesterman, Rice undergraduate summer student
Mehwish Ismaily, Stanford undergraduate student
Arielle Kagan, Harvard undergraduate summer student
Keith Kline, Graduate Student
Greg Brown, Research Assistant
Mike Lara, BCM Medical Student
Francis Lawrence, Research Assistant
Robert LiKamWa, Programmer
Leo Linbeck, Summer student
Harsha Mittikani, BCM Medical Student
Vani Pariyadath, Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow
Brent Parsons, Research Assistant
Giovanni Piantoni, Research Assistant
Mark Plitt, Research Assistant
James Ryland, Research Assistant
Deepak Sagaram, MD, Graduate Research Assistant
A. Karthik Sarma, MD, Neurology collaborator
Jyotpal Singh, Law student, Research Assistant
Thomas Sprague, Research Assistant
Chess Stetson, Graduate Student
Daisy Thompson-Lake, Research Assistant
Josh Tilles, Programmer
Matthew Timberlake, BCM Medical Student
Steffie Tomson, Ph.D
Rejnal Tushe, Rice undergraduate Research Assistant
Don Vaughn, Research Assistant
Helen Vo, Research Assistant
Wilber Wang, Rice undergraduate summer student
Sarah Weinzimmer, Research Assistant