Leanne Chukoskie, PhD

Assistant Research Scientist





Leanne is an Assistant Research Scientist in the Institute for Neural Computation at UCSD. She earned her B.A. in Neural Science and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. For her doctoral research she studied the neural mechanisms of motion perception during eye movements at NYU with Dr. Anthony Movshon. She moved to San Diego for a postdoctoral fellowship at the Salk Institute in eye movement control with Dr. Richard Krauzlis and how we learn where to look with Dr. Terrence Sejnowski and as part of the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center (TDLC).

Leanne studies eye and body movement and the neural mechanisms that underlie those movements in children and adults with autism and typical development.  She is also interested in developing movement-based interventions for individuals with ASD and for improved educational outcomes for all.

Leanne is interested in learning why people choose to look where they do. As humans, we each choose where to look 3-5 times every second. Each of these choices entails an evaluation of the visual scene, decision to shift attention to an area of interest, plan to move the eye the appropriate amount and direction, and finally the execution of the a fast orienting eye movement, called a saccade.

Since these fast eye movements are the culmination of so much processing, we use them as a sensitive, non-invasive measure of attention and motor planning. We measure saccades in individuals at a range of ages, in both typical and atypical neurodevelopment. In addition to measuring eye movements, we also seek to manipulate them. The tight link between spatial attention and eye movement suggests that improved accuracy and timing of eye movements—a motor behavior that can be trained—will also lead to improved attentional skill.

1. Chukoskie, L., Townsend, J., and Westerfield, M. (in press) Motor skill in Autism Spectrum Disorder: a subcortical view. International Reviews in Neurobiology: Neurobiology of Autism. Genevive Konopka, editor (invited book chapter).

2. Chukoskie, L., Soomro, A., Townsend, J., and Westerfield, M., (2013) 'Looking' better: designing an at-home gaze training system for children with ASD. Proceedings of the 5th International IEEE EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering, San Diego CA.

3. Chukoskie L., Snider, J. Mozer, M., Krauzlis, RJ, Sejnowski, T. (2013) Learning Where to Look for a Hidden Target. PNAS ; 110 Suppl 2:10438-45.

4. Chukoskie, L., Miller, M.J., Kanan, C., Dorai, M., Townsend, J., and Trauner, D.A. (2012) Did you see that change? A study of dyspraxia, eye movement and visual perception in autism. International Meeting for Autism Research. 11268.

5. Kamen BA and Chukoskie L. (2011) Autism Speaks: Meeting on Folate Metabolism and Autism Spectrum Disorders: March 19-20, 2009, Washington, DC. Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. 33(3): 308-315.

6. Chukoskie L, Alexander AS, Kane,NR, Mozer MC, Sejnowski TJ, Chiba AA. (2010) Rodents effectively learn statistics of hidden food rewards in a novel search task. Soc. Neurosci. Abstr. 36: 813.6.

7. Chukoskie L and Movshon JA. (2009) Modulation of visual signals in macaque MT and MST neurons during pursuit eye movement. J. Neurophysiology. 102(6); 3225-33.

8. Krauzlis RJ and Chukoskie L (2007) Oculomotor control: target selection for pursuit and saccades. Chapter 1104 in The New Encyclopedia of Neuroscience