Faculty Detail   
Campus Address
Other websites

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Neuroscience Graduate Program 

Biographical Sketch 
Michael S. Loop (b.1946), Associate Professor of Physiological Optics and Psychology and Neurobiology. He completed his studies in psychobiology at Florida State University (B.S., 1968; M.S., 1971; Ph.D., 1972). A portion of his postdoctoral work was undertaken at the University of Virginia studying central visual system function with Dr. John A. Jane (Neurosurgery) and Dr. S. Murray Sherman (Physiology). Following this he moved to the University of Illinois and collaborated with Dr. Peter H. Hartline (Physiology and Biophysics) on infrared detection in snakes. Since 1978 he has been on the faculty at UAB. His spare time is committed to yard work, children and fishing.

Research/Clinical Interest
Visual psychophysics, color vision/vertebrate
My research is directed at understanding the relationship between visual perception and nervous system activity. Under light adapted conditions, normal humans can generally discriminate the color, but not the brightness, of a spectral increment at detection threshold. Several known, and suspected, features of the normal human visual system may account for our excellent color vision. We have a cone dominated fovea, three cone types, and an abundance of wavelength opponent neurons. Further, wavelength opponent neurons have a natural sensitivity advantage over non-wavelength opponent neurons; some wavelengths will put excitation at an advantage over inhibition. Which, or how many, of these features determine color vision sensitivity is being investigated. Our approach is to study the color vision sensitivity of human dichromats and non-human animals which possess particular features in common with normal humans. Recently we have found that goldfish and macaque monkey also detect the color of threshold photopic spectral increments. By some measures, human dichromats also detect photopic spectral increments with wavelength opponent neurons but they do not detect the color of the flash at detection threshold. This suggests that human dichromats may have abnormal central processing of color information in addition to their missing retinal photopigment.