Envisioning a happy birthday for Professor Regan

When is a conference more than a conference? When it’s also a birthday party.

York’s Centre for Vision Research (CVR) is hosting a conference at York June 18-21 to celebrate the career and the 68th birthday of one of its luminaries – David Regan, distinguished research professor of psychology and biology, and the Sir John William Dawson Medallist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

The conference, “Visual Processing of Spatial Form Defined by Luminance, Colour, Motion, Texture and Binocular Disparity,” will bring together an international group of leading researchers on the visual processing of spatial form. Participants will present their latest original findings, place them in a naturalistic context and outline a vision for the future in a forum that wll promote discussion and debate.

For the past four decades at York, Regan has applied physics to the service of medicine. Hailed as a prolific inventor and original thinker, he has won worldwide recognition and prestigious awards for his pioneering human vision research and diagnostic tools. His findings have made several contributions to our understanding of visual and auditory functions, and human brain electrophysiology.

Right: Regan with senior research associate Marian Regan, collaborating on research about the human brain mechanism responsible for stereoscopic depth perception

Regan was the first in the world to demonstrate how the brain computes the direction of approaching objects – brain processes that underlie collision avoidance on the highway. He showed that vision is modular, a concept important for aviation and road safety, and for robot design, particularly in remote surgery.

Regan is also a pioneer in recording the electrical activity of the human brain and has devised major diagnostic tests for developmental disorders in infants and disease in adults.

Left: CVR logo

A leader in visual and brain science research, Regan has been awarded numerous honours, including an I.W. Killam Research Professorship and the NSERC/CAE Industrial Research Chair in Vision & Aviation. In addition, he was appointed to the Spinoza Chair for 1999 by the Faculty of Medicine, University of Amsterdam; elected as a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, also in 1999; received the D.O. Hebb Award in 2003 from the Canadian Psychological Association; was the first Canadian to receive both the Proctor Medal (ARVO) and the Prentice Medal (American Academy of Optometry); and received the NSERC Award of Excellence (science & engineering). Recently, he was named to the Order of Canada and awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Gold Medal.

Regan’s publications include three single-author books, three edited books, 217 articles in refereed journals, 73 book chapters and eight patents.