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angle-left Robert Hess, PhD

Senior Scientist, RI-MUHC , Montreal General Hospital

Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience (BRaIN) Program

Centre for Translational Biology

Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University



visual processing • amblyopia • psychophysics • brain imaging

Research Focus

My research focuses on understanding low level vision, in particular cortical plasticity in the adult. We use a range of different techniques including psychophysics, brain stimulation (TMS and tDCS), brain imaging (fMRI, EEG and MEG) and computational modelling to better understand normal visual cortical function and how it can be modulated. One key application of this work is to a condition called amblyopia. This is the most common form of unilateral blindness in the adult population, with an incidence of three per cent, but currently there is no treatment beyond 17 years of age. We have developed a novel new treatment and we are also developing a related approach for children with this condition.

Selected Publications

Click on Pubmed to see my current publications list

  • Li. J., Thompson, B., Deng, D., Chan, L. Y. L., Yu, M., & Hess, R. F.(2013) Dichoptic training enables the adult amblyopic brain to learn. Current Biology, 23(8), 308-309, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2013.01.059

  • Zhou, J., Thompson, B. and Hess, R. F. (2013). A new form of rapid binocular plasticity in adult with amblyopia. Scientific Reports 3, Article number: 2638 doi:10.1038/srep02638.

  • Zhou, J., S. Clavagnier and R. F. Hess.(2013) Short-term monocular deprivation strengthens the patched eye's contribution to binocular combination. Journal of Vision Apr 18;13(5). pii: 12. doi: 10.1167/13.5.12.

  • Clavagnier, S., Thompson, B. and Hess, R. F.(2013) Long lasting effects of daily theta burst rTMS sessions in the human amblyopic cortex. Brain Stim. Apr 28. pii: S1935-861X(13)00094-6. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2013.04.002.

  • Spiegel, D.P., et al.(2013) Anodal tDCS Transiently Improves Contrast Sensitivity and Normalizes Visual Cortex Activation in Individuals With Amblyopia. Neurorehab & Neural Repair.27(8), 760-769.