UW News

September 21, 2011

2011 Optical Society of America Boynton Lecture presented by Dennis M. Dacey

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Dr. Dennis M. Dacey presented the prestigious Robert M. Boynton Lecture, “Neural origins of color and spatial coding in the primate retina” at the recent Optical Society of America Vision Conference, held this year at the UW.

Dacey is a  professor of biological structure in the School of Medicine and a member of the Core Staff in Neurosciences in the Washington National Primate Research Center.  For more than 25 years  Dacey has studied the organization of the primate retina. He pioneered the development of physiologically viable preparations of retina for in vitro studies that resulted in characterization of the complex neural circuitry.  His unique preparations made it possible to investigate the diversity of cell types and neural connections contributing to parallel visual pathways.

Previous prominent awards to  Dacey include the Paul Kayser International Award of Merit from the International Society for Eye Research and the Rank Foundation Prize in Optoelectronics.

The Boynton Lecture is named for the late Dr. Robert M. Boynton, whose scientific career in neurophysiology and vision spanned more than four decades. Boynton was on the faculty at the University of Rochester and later at the University of California San Diego.

Dacey was an excellent choice for the honor because his research on the neural origins of cone-opponency in primate retinal ganglion cells was of fundamental interest to Boynton. 

Boynton’s  primary studies were on color vision using visual psychophysics. He had a variety of related research
interests including physiological optics, light adaptation, and temporal sensitivity.  Boynton was widely known for his authorship of “Human Color Vision,” a text on the fundamental neurophysiology of the eye and brain that underlies sight.

Boynton was recognized for numerous outstanding contributions to vision research nationally and internationally, with awards that included the Optical Society of America Tillyer Medal and the Frederick Ives Medal, election to the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the Prentice Medal of the American Academy of Optometry, and the National Academy of Sciences.