School of Medicine

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  • Vasiliki Rahimzadeh

    Vasiliki Rahimzadeh

    Member, Maternal & Child Health Research Institute (MCHRI)

    BioVasiliki (Vaso) Rahimzadeh, PhD is an applied bioethics scholar with research interests at the intersection of precision medicine, data governance and public policy.

  • Mahalakshmi Ramamurthy

    Mahalakshmi Ramamurthy

    Postdoctoral Scholar, Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics

    BioI am a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Jason Yeatman. With a background in optometry, vision science, psychophysics and cognitive neuroscience my long-term goal is to study the intersection of basic visual mechanisms and various neurodevelopmental disorders and to extend this understanding in creating effective early screening tools, and in advancing evidence-based therapeutic and remediation programs. Inherent to this interest is the need for developmental data in large and demographically diverse populations. I strongly believe that such inclusive research not only contributes to scientific advancements but can go beyond to bridge health and education disparities. I joined the Brain Development and Education lab at Stanford after taking a medical break. During my break, I had the opportunity to run a vision screening camp for a school for differently abled children. Many children with a learning disability are misunderstood to have a vision problem making optometrist the first people to diagnose the disability but intervention stops at that point. This kindled my curiosity and I soon discovered the lack of converging understanding on the role of visual processing in dyslexia that in turn limits the possibility of evidence-based intervention. I was deeply interested in understanding the role of vision and attention in dyslexia. Over the past three years, I developed visual measures based on the most cited hypothesis in the dyslexia literature. These measures were designed such that they inform us about the hypothesized construct in an ecologically relevant paradigm for reading. I developed a validation scheme where measures are first deployed on the adult population and various behavioral and eye tracking aspects of the measure are characterized. The measures are built on a browser-based platform (using PsychoPy© and jsPsych©) where they are validated against the laboratory-based measurements. All the web-based visual measures have timing parameters optimized to ensure measurement validity. Over the past year, I have focused on optimizing these visual measures to make them adaptive, short, and reliable for kindergarten and first grade children. My goal in the current project is to leverage this battery of visual measures to understand how visual deficits are linked to the development of reading disorders. The web-based assessments are designed to be deployed to a large and diverse population of unprecedented scale.