Research Week Preview: Formulating a Plan to Help Cure Blindness

Posted on 3/28/2018 7:58:56 PM

Next week is Research Appreciation Week at IUP, and the work many students have been doing will be on display across campus.

Victoria Jakicic reviews her research on prosthetic vision with faculty advisor Raymond PavloskiVictoria Jakicic, of Bethel Park, is one of the students who will be presenting her research. A senior with a double major in psychology and mathematics, Jakicic will be presenting “A Theoretical Foundation for the Application of Basic Research in Perception to Prosthetic Vision” at the Undergraduate Scholars Forum on Tuesday at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.

“It’s about a mathematical model that explains a psychological phenomenon—in this case, showing why phosphene exist when you stimulate certain parts of the cerebral cortex,” she explained.

In basic terms, Jakicic has been doing research in the field of prosthetic vision, where implants in the brain have been shown to help blind people to see.

“There are 37 million blind people in the world,” said Jakicic’s research advisor, Raymond Pavloski, Department of Psychology, who has guided Jakicic’s work this semester, “and if there’s the ability to make a chip cheap enough, a lot of those people could have the ability to see.”

Jakicic’s presentation is one of 39 during the Undergraduate Scholars Forum. On Wednesday, there will be 29 at the Graduate Scholars Forum. Both events are at the KCAC, and also feature rooms with poster presentations by scores of students, as well as an art display.

It’s all part of Research Appreciation Week, which “spotlights the spirit of innovation and collaboration shared by all disciplines and recognizes the contributions that IUP original research and scholarship make to the region and world.”

“For me, research is important because it gives me hands-on experience in something I will be doing in the future,” Jakicic said. “It’s a good experience to have now before graduate school, and IUP has a really good research program.”