Research | Queen’s University Canada

Douglas Munoz

Douglas Munoz

Measuring and analyzing eye movements to gain insight into brain function and dysfunction: this research will identify new biomarkers for diagnosing neurological and psychiatric conditions, and may lead to new treatments that improve cognitive function.

[Dr. Douglas Munoz]
Former Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience
Tier 1

Using Eye Movements to Study Brain Function

Dr. Douglas Munoz, Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience, originally chose neuroscience as his field of study because he was fascinated by how training helps people get better at specific sports. It turns out that the most important part of the training is the brain learning how to control the body in complex situations. This central question still drives Munoz’s research today.

Munoz is now a world leader in understanding how the brain controls a specific type of eye movement called a saccade. A saccade is the eye movement we make when glancing from one object of interest to another. We make almost 200,000 of these movements every day. Researchers now know that saccades are controlled through complex pathways in the brain.

Munoz studies how these pathways provide precise voluntary control of saccadic eye movements. His lab combines eye tracking with neurophysiology and neuroimaging to study sensory, motor, and cognitive control of saccades.

Munoz and his research team study saccades in normal people to understand child development and aging, as well as in those with a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders, from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, autism, dyslexia, bipolar disorder, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, and others.

Munoz’s research will provide new information about how the brain controls voluntary behaviour. It will also identify new biomarkers for diagnosing neurological conditions and measuring the effectiveness of treatments. Ultimately, it will lead to developing new treatments to improve cognitive function.