Barry E. Stein the Chairman of the Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, where he is also Professor of Neurology. He is also director of the joint Cognitive Neuroscience PhD Program between Wake Forest University and the University of Bologna in Italy.
His research objectives are to understand the neural basis by which the brain is able to integrate information from multiple senses and how the process develops during early life. This process of multisensory integration is highly adaptive. It knits together information from different sensory modalities (e.g., visual, auditory, somatosensory) to allow the brain to associate related environmental cues. It also enhances minimal signals and reduces environmental ambiguity so that events are better detected, localized, and identified. These are essential functions for humans' and animals' normal interaction with the environment.
One practical research objective has been to understand how the physiological properties of individual multisensory neurons and the networks in which they are embedded develop these capabilities as a result of early experience. To this end multidisciplinary anatomical, physiological, behavioral and perceptual approaches are utilized to explore how early experience crafts the underlying neural circuits.
One of the long-term objectives of Dr. Stein's research is to develop rehabilitative strategies to treat disorders of sensory processing. These include not only Sensory processing disorder; Autism; Attention Deficit Disorders; and Dyslexia, which are diagnosed in thousands of children every year, but also disorders induced by trauma and disease that can occur at any age. Many of these disorders share common problems in the ability to use the senses cooperatively and in segregating and aggregating environmental cues in meaningful ways.
Dr. Stein is a Fellow of the AAAS and has been a visiting scholar at the Rockefeller University. He has long been considered by researchers as one of the "founders" of the field of multisensory integration, and a number of his publications are seminal works in that area. In addition to early papers in Science and other highly regarded journals, his publications include three widely read books on multisensory processes: "The Merging of the Senses," with M. Alex Meredith, "The Handbook of Multisensory Processes," co-edited with Gemma Calvert and Charles Spence, and "The New Handbook of Multisensory Processes."