Dr. Miriam Spering

Principal Investigator

Ph.D. [Psychology and Neuroscience] (University of Giessen)
Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia

Research Interests

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Dr. Miriam Spering is both a neuroscientist and a psychologist. Her research focuses on how the brain uses visual cues to control movement in humans. Part of this research involves looking at various disease models, such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injury (SCI), and their impact on vision and related motor responses. One of the goals of Dr. Spering’s work is to assess whether training can compensate for abnormalities in vision and eye movements in these patients, with the long-term goal of developing rehabilitation tools based around eye movements. Her group also investigates visual perception and eye movements in professional athletes.

Along with Dr. Ipek Oruc, Dr. Spering directs the Neuroscience of Vision and Action (NOVA) lab at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre. Both are members of the Visual Cognitive Neuroscience Group within the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Spering obtained her B.Sc and M.Sc in Psychology from the Universities of Heidelberg, Konstanz, and Exeter (England). In 2006, she obtained her PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience from the University of Giessen in Germany. She was a post-doctoral fellow at New York University, with funding provided by the German Research Foundation.

Dr. Spering says that her favourite aspect of being a part of ICORD is the collaborative atmosphere. While the primary focus of her research is not centered on SCI, Dr. Spering has begun looking at ways in which her research methods and experience could be applied to SCI. As such, she is presently investigating eye movements in individuals who use wheelchairs.

For some of her major findings, please see the selected papers below, as well as her recent publications listed at the bottom of the page:


Some of Dr. Spering’s major awards and accomplishments include:

  • Early Career Scholar Award (Peter Wall Insitute for Advanced Studies, 2012-2013)
  • German Research Foundation (DFG, 2008-2010)
  • Klaus Tschira Award for Achievements in Public Understanding of Science, Neuroscience category (2007)

Current Lab Members

Masters Students Ph.D. Students
Philipp Kreyenmeier Jolande Fooken

Trainee Awards

Year Name Award
2016 Jolande Fooken Student Travel Award (Vision Sciences Society)
2016 Austin Rothwell Undergraduate Student Research Award (NSERC)
2015 Sumeet Mutti Undergraduate Student Research Award (NSERC)
2015 Marisa Carrasco (visitor) International Visiting Research Scholar Award (Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies)
2014 Kathryn Lalonde Master’s Award (NSERC)
2014 Marisa Carrasco (visitor) International Visiting Research Scholar Award (Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies)
 2014 Jeffrey Wang Summer Student Research Program Award (UBC Faculty of Medicine)

Current Opportunities In the Lab

Please see Dr. Spering’s webpage here for more information on her research, group, and current opportunities.

Recent publications

  • Palidis, DJ, Wyder-Hodge, PA, Fooken, J, Spering, M. 2017. Distinct eye movement patterns enhance dynamic visual acuity.. PLoS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172061.
  • Edinger, J, Pai, DK, Spering, M. 2017. Coordinated Control of Three-Dimensional Components of Smooth Pursuit to Rotating and Translating Textures.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-21038.
  • Fooken, J, Yeo, SH, Pai, DK, Spering, M. 2016. Eye movement accuracy determines natural interception strategies.. J Vis. doi: 10.1167/16.14.1.
  • Ming, W, Palidis, DJ, Spering, M, McKeown, MJ. 2016. Visual Contrast Sensitivity in Early-Stage Parkinson's Disease.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-20025.
  • Brielmann, AA, Spering, M. 2015. Effects of reward on the accuracy and dynamics of smooth pursuit eye movements.. J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. doi: 10.1037/a0039205.
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