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Professor Marina Bloj

PositionProfessor of Visual Perception
LocationG36, Richmond building
DepartmentSchool of Optometry and Vision Sciences
RKT CentreVisual Computing
Telephone+44 (0) 1274 236258

Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

  • Module Leader for OP-0612L Evidence Based Optometry II

Study History

  • 2005 Postgraduate certificate in Higher Education Practice (Distinction), University of Bradford
  • 1996 M.Phil., University of Newcastle. Thesis title: ‘The Role of Mutual Illumination in Human Colour Constancy’, supervised by Prof. A. Hurlbert

Professional History

My undergraduate degree is in physics, I have completed post-graduate studies in lighting design, human and computer vision, neuroscience and experimental psychology. I was appointed as a Lecturer in Bradford less than a year after completing my doctorate and promoted to Professor in 2012.  

In 2006 I completed my New Lecturer award from the EPSRC that allowed me to establish a natural vision laboratory where quantitative manipulations of lighting and scene structure can be made in a room sized lighting booth. This setup has allowed me to determine the accuracy and perceptual validity of computer simulations with particular emphasis on colour and interreflections.

In 2008 I become an elected member of the University Senate and the Academic Policy and Strategy Committee and took a special interest in Research and Knowledge Transfer issues across the University. From 2009-2014 I served as one of the Senate’s representative on University Council and Court.

During summer 2002, January 2003, summer 2003 and January 2004 I visited Prof. Brainard's lab (Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, USA), as named Visiting Scientist to investigate how object pose interacts with object lightness in a systematic fashion.

Between 2006 and 2009, I was Principal Investigator on a 3year EPSRC grant, which aimed to generate, validate and display high fidelity computer generated images of real scenes for use in psychophysics, archaeological reconstructions and defense applications. This was a joint project with Prof. Alan Chalmers from the Warwick Digital Lab and two industrial partners: Brightside (now part of the DOLBY group) and INSYS Ltd as well as the UK Ministry of Defense via the Defense Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL). As part of this project I had access to one of the few High Dynamics Range displays available in Europe and carried out the first assessment of the suitability of this new devices for psychophysics and developed a framework that allows for this type of display to be used with standard (non high dynamic range) images.

Between 2010 and 2014 I was the Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Transfer and Director of the Institute of Life Sciences Research, School (now Faculty) of Life Sciences - University of Bradford.

Professional Activities

I have a strong personal interest in the ethical and societal impact of research and technology and actively pursue opportunities to influence policy and strategy at institutional, professional and governmental level.

Since 2010 I serve as a Partner Governor on the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Council of Governors with a particular interest in the adoption of innovation and technology in healthcare. Currently I support the implementation of Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system as a member of the Joint EPR Transformation Board.

At the moment I am on the executive committees of the Applied Vison Association, British Machine Vision Association and the Colour Group with an agenda to facilitate interdisciplinary work and support the development and recognition of women in science and of gendered science and technology.

Research Areas

I am interested in understanding how we see things: how do our eyes and brain work together to give us the vision of the world around us?

Most of us do this effortlessly almost from birth and yet no machine can see as we do. The elegant and not yet well understood workings of our visual system hide very complicated computational problems that I investigate in my lab. I make use of my background in physics to help me understand how light interacts with objects and with our eyes. I measure peoples responses using non-invasive techniques such as eye-tracking (recording were people are looking) or reaction times (how quickly you see something) to establish the limits of what our vision can or cannot do during certain visual activities such as looking for a camouflaged target, trying to remember a colour they have seen before or even watching a movie.

Using the data I collect I develop models of how the eye and brain might be working together, using these models I can then make predictions about how people might perform during different activities. I can then test these predictions by collecting more data and then use these new findings to refine my models. I am also interested in how our abilities develop over time, can we train them? What happens when we get older? Much of the problems I investigate in my lab have direct correlation with everyday tasks we all do.

Current Projects

I have secured uninterrupted external funding to support my research activities; most of this has been Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) support secured through strong interdisciplinary and cross-institution collaborations often as lead applicant. Summary of past projects can be found via this EPSRC link or via RCUK Gateway to Research site.

Currently I am working with Prof Julie Harris from University of St Andrews and Prof Alex Wade from University of York on a BBSRC funded project exploring the neural processing pathways that underlie the perception of binocular motion in depth, see here for more information and doing some exciting work on how we remember the colour of real objects with Prof Karl Gegenfurtner and his team at the University of Giessen in Germany.


See my Google Scholar page for complete list

Bloj, M., Weiß, D., & Gegenfurtner, K. R. (2016). Bias effects of short-and long-term color memory for unique objects. JOSA A, 33(4), 492-500

Gegenfurtner, K. R., Bloj, M., & Toscani, M. (2015). The many colours of ‘the dress’. Current Biology, 25(13), R543-R544

Clery, S., Bloj, M., & Harris, J. M. (2013). Interactions between luminance and color signals: Effects on shape. Journal of vision, 13(5), 16-16

Harding, G., Harris, J. M., & Bloj, M. (2012). Learning to use illumination gradients as an unambiguous cue to three dimensional shape. PloS one, 7(4), e35950

ap Cenydd, L., John, N., Bloj, M., Walter, A., & Phillips, N. (2012). Visualizing the surface of a living human brain. Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE, 32(2), 55-65


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