David Leopold, Ph.D.

David Leopold
NIMH Senior Investigator and NINDS Adjunct Investigator
Section on Cognitive Neurophysiology and Imaging
BG 49, RM 1E21, MSC 4400

Dr. Leopold attained a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Duke University in 1991. After receiving his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Baylor College of Medicine in 1997, he conducted postdoctoral work at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany. Dr. Leopold arrived at the NIH in 2004 to establish his own research laboratory and to head a core facility for brain imaging in nonhuman primates.  He is now a Senior Investigator and Chief of the Section on Cognitive Neurophysiology and Imaging in the National Institute of Mental Health.  He is also the Director of the Neurophysiology Imaging Facility, a joint core facility sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and National Eye Institute.

The Leopold laboratory studies brain mechanisms underlying visual perception.  Currently the laboratory approaches this topic applying two broad perspectives.  The first perspective asks how visual regions of the cerebral cortex operate during natural modes of experience. In contrast to conventional stimulus presentation, this includes immersion in a full-field visual scene, interaction with the 3D real-world geometry, and the active perception of dynamic social behaviors.  The second perspective asks how early life visual experience shapes the development and operation of specialized neural circuits.  Of particular interest are those circuits known to be dedicated for analyzing certain types of social information, such as facial identity, and emotional expression, and bodily actions.

Koyano KW, Jones AP, McMahon DBT, Waidmann EN, Russ BE, Leopold DA (2020). Dynamic Suppression of Average Facial Structure Shapes Neural Tuning in Three Macaque Face Patches. Curr Biol 31, 1-12.e5. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.09.070
Koyano KW, Esch EM, Hong JJ, Waidmann EN, Wu H, Leopold DA (2023). Progressive neuronal plasticity in primate visual cortex during stimulus familiarization. Sci Adv 9, eade4648. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.ade4648
Park SH, Koyano KW, Russ BE, Waidmann EN, McMahon DBT, Leopold DA (2022). Parallel functional subnetworks embedded in the macaque face patch system. Sci Adv 8, eabm2054. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abm2054
Leopold DA, Averbeck BB (2021). Self-tuition as an essential design feature of the brain. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 377, 20200530. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2020.0530
Leopold DA, Park SH (2020). Studying the visual brain in its natural rhythm. Neuroimage 216, 116790. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116790