Program Director, Perception and Psychophysics, Low Vision and Blindness Rehabilitation, Division of Extramural Research
National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD
Dr. Wiggs manages the Perception and Psychophysics and the Low Vision and Blindness Rehabilitation research portfolios at NEI. The Perception and Psychophysics program supports basic research aimed at understanding the processes underlying the detection and interpretation of visual information from the external world. For example, how do we: perceive color, recognize an object in a fraction of a second, or scan a crowd for a familiar face? Recent advances in neuroimaging have provided a greater understanding of the neural underpinnings of these processes and the complexity of these networks. With this information scientists are better equipped to find new treatments and/or intervention into the disease process.
The Low Vision and Blindness Rehabilitation program supports work in developing new technologies and rehabilitation strategies that will minimize the impact of visual impairment. This portfolio is broad, with basic and applied science that provides a deeper understanding of the blind and low vision experience. It works to develop assistive devices and interventions that will help people who are blind or live with low vision to maintain a higher quality of life. As the population ages, the number of individuals who have low vision will dramatically increase, thus the work coming out of this program will continue to rise in relevance.
Prior to joining the NEI, Dr. Wiggs served as a scientific review officer at the NIH Center for Scientific Review overseeing the Cognition and Perception Study Section. She serves on the Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee (BSSR CC) and continues her role as a guest researcher in the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition within the National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Program.
Dr. Wiggs is the author of numerous research articles based on her studies in cognitive neuroscience, including articles published in: Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition; Hippocampus; Cognitive Neuropsychology; Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology; Nature; Neuropsychologia; Psychology and Aging; and Science.
The National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, leads the federal government's research on the visual system and eye diseases. NEI supports basic and clinical science programs that result in the development of sight-saving treatments.