UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

Prof Andrew Stockman

Prof Andrew Stockman

Steers Professor of Investigative Eye Research

Institute of Ophthalmology

Faculty of Brain Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Mar 2001

Research summary

My principal area of research is visual psychophysics, within which my specializations include colour vision, rod vision, visual adaptation, temporal sensitivity and clinical vision. A particular focus is the unravelling of the mechanisms and postreceptoral circuits that underlie normal and abnormal human vision and visual processing. In general, I try to relate my psychophysical work to the underlying physiology and anatomy, both in terms of the design of the experiments and in terms of the resulting models.

Perhaps my best known research is that on human spectral sensitivities. The “Stockman & Sharpe” cone spectral sensitivities and the related luminous efficiency functions, all based on measurements in observers of known photopigment opsin genotype, have now been adopted by the Commission Internationale de l'Éclairage (CIE) as a new international standard for colour definition and colour measurement.

Other important work, much of which is ongoing, includes measurements of cone and rod temporal (flicker) sensitivity and delay that have resulted in the identification of “slow” and “fast” signals in photopic and mesopic vision, the discovery of an unexpected S-cone input to luminance, and models of rod and cone adaptation. Measurements of the visible distortion that accompanies flicker has allowed the processing of the visual system to be dissected into early and late stages. In three recent papers stemming from this work, we have modelled the properties of the common pathway that we believe is responsible for colour and brightness perception. Another ongoing project investigates how chromatic signals are processed and in particular why chromatic signals are processed much more slowly than achromatic ones. A new area of research is that of Adaptive Optics (AO). We  will design and build a user-friendly, AO visual stimulator with which to simultaneously image the retina at high resolution and to present high-resolution visual stimuli (such as gratings). This will allow us to generate coloured images with high temporal and spatial resolution over an extended intensity range. Once constructed, we will carry out a series of fundamental measurements of human visual performance. We will determine the human spatial contrast sensitivity functions (CSFs) for detecting achromatic, chromatic, and L-, M- and S-cone-isolating stimuli in the absence of the limitations normally imposed by the optics of the eye

Although my main research focus has been concerned with basic (non-clinical) research, I have become increasingly interested in and involved with the investigation of various clinical visual disorders, many of which result from mutations in genes that encode proteins essential for retinal visual function. We use psychophysical tools to characterize visual losses in patients suffering from mutations that cause, for example, rod monochromatism, retinitis pigmentosa, cone and cone-rod dystrophies, Bradyopsia, S-cone monochromatism, cone dystrophy with super-normal rod responses, stationary night blindness, oligocone trichromacy, congenital stationary night blindness, and enhanced S-cone syndrome.

Teaching summary

In 2001, I took over the organisation of a half-unit 3rd year course taught at central UCL called “Eye & Brain”. I have continued to develop this course, and in 2012 split it into a full-unit 3rd year and graduate course called “Advanced Visual Neuroscience” (NEUR3001/G001/M001) and a half-unit 3rd year and graduate course called “Visual Neuroscience” (NEUR3045/G045/M045). Both are now successful courses with intakes in 2015 of 25 and 26 students, respectively.  At the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, I have also co-organised and co-developed the MSc "Introduction to Visual Neuroscience" module, which was part of the Biology of Vision MSc. This module and a more advanced visual neuroscience module have now been subsumed under NEUR3001/G001/M001 and NEUR3045/G045/ M045, for which I am responsible. I additionally lecture for other courses, including a revision course for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists exam, a Clinical Ophthalmology MSc course, and a Neuroscience MSc course.  At UCSD and UCL, I have also supervised undergraduate projects, MSc theses, and Ph.D. theses. The Advanced Visual Neuroscience has ended. Visual Neuroscience (now NEUR0017) continues in the second term each year.


University of Oxford
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 1984
University of Cambridge
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 1984
University of Oxford
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 1979


I was an undergraduate at the University of Oxford, where I studied Experimental Psychology in my second and third years, after which I became a Ph.D. student supervised by John Mollon at the Craik Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, where my thesis was on human color vision.  I graduated in 1984, and won a two-year NATO/SERC Postdoctoral Fellowship to study at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), where I worked under the guidance of Donald MacLeod. I spent seventeen years at UCSD. After my PostDoc, I became an independent researcher (eventually becoming a Senior Research Scientist) funded by three successive National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, and two successive National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants. At UCSD, my research interests broadened to include aspects of vision science other than colour vision, including flicker and flicker interactions, rod vision, visual sensitivity, visual adaptation, electrophysiology, postreceptoral organization, and molecular genetics.

In 2001, I was appointed the Steers Professor of Investigative Eye Research at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, and have been an Honorary Consultant of Moorfields Eye Hospital since 2004. Here, I have continued my basic (non-clinical) research, but have broadened my remit to include clinical research. I run a small but successful laboratory called the Colour & Vision Research Laboratories within the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. We currently have five people who work full-time or part-time in the lab, as well as several people who work on Honorary contracts. At UCL, I have been funded by a series of grants funded by the Wellcome Trust, Fight for Sight, the BBSRC and the EPSRC.

I am the theme leader of Visual Neuroscience and Psychophysics at the Institute of Ophthalmology.

I am a member of VSS, ARVO, OSA, ICVS, AVA and the Colour Group (Great BritainI was Chair of the Colour and Vision technical division of the Optical Society of America, and I am a Fellow of that society. Since my return to the UK, I have been very active within the Colour Group (GB) as a committee member, co-chair and chair, and I am an organiser of their one-day January scientific meeting. I am a member of two standards committee of the Committee Internationale de l'Éclairage (CIE), whose task is to choose new colour standards. I am an editor of Vision Research and Optics Express.

I am particularly proud of a website for the use of the vision community that I first developed in 1995 and have continuously updated.  It is called the "Colour and Vision Research Laboratories Database", and contains data sets and other information relevant to vision research.  The address is:  http://www.cvrl.org.  The site has become an important resource for color and vision scientists.