James DiCarlo is interested in understanding how a complex network of brain regions underlies our ability to recognize vast numbers of objects and faces rapidly.
Jim DiCarlo is a Professor of Systems and Computational Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research team's primary goal is to discover and artificially emulate the brain mechanisms that underlie human visual intelligence. Over the past 20 years, using the non-human primate animal model organism, DiCarlo and his collaborators have helped develop our contemporary, engineering-level understanding of the neural mechanisms that underlie visual information processing in the ventral visual stream — a complex series of interconnected brains areas — and how that processing supports core cognitive abilities such as object and face recognition. He and his collaborators aim to use this newly emerging scientific understanding to guide the development of more robust artificial vision systems ("Al"), to reveal new ways to beneficially modulate brain activity via modulations of images striking our eyes, to expose new methods of accelerating visual learning, to provide a basis for new neural prosthetics (brain-machine interfaces) to restore lost senses, and to provide a scientific foundation to understand how sensory processing is altered in conditions such as agnosia, autism, and dyslexia.
DiCarlo trained in biomedical engineering, medicine, systems neurophysiology, and computing at Northwestern (BSE), Johns Hopkins (MD/PhD), and Baylor College of Medicine (Postdoc). He served as Head of MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences from 2012 to 2021, where he and his leadership team developed new undergraduate and gradate training programs at the interface of the brain sciences and computing. He is currently the Director of the MIT Quest for Intelligence (2021–present) where he and his leadership team are working to advance interdisciplinary research at the interface of natural and artificial intelligence. DiCarlo's post-doctoral and PhD trainees have successfully gone on to independent faculty-level positions at both US and international research institutions (e.g., UPenn, Harvard, Stanford, SISSA, Columbia, NIH, McGill, York, EPFL), and to careers in industry (e.g. IBM, Google, Apple, Meta). DiCarlo is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, a Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences, a McKnight Scholar in Neuroscience, and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences