Peter Lennie is the Jay Last Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at University of Rochester. He has been Executive Director of WUN since August 2018.
Lennie is a neuroscientist whose work has focused principally on early stage mechanisms of vision, and the encoding and transmission of information from the eye’s retina to the primary visual cortex. His published work has contributed particularly to our understanding of how information about the color of objects is represented in the brain.
He was born and educated in the UK. After obtaining his PhD in experimental psychology from the University of Cambridge, he held a Harkness Fellowship at Northwestern University in Evanston, followed by a Research Fellowship at King’s College, Cambridge, before becoming Lecturer in Experimental Psychology at the University of Sussex. In 1982 he moved to University of Rochester to join the Center for Visual Science. During his time in Rochester he became founding chair of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. From 1998 to 2006 he was at New York University as Professor of Neural Science and Dean for Science. In 2006 he returned to University of Rochester as Senior Vice President and Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering. From 2012 to 2016 he also served as the university’s Provost. During his time as Provost he drove a major expansion of the university’s international engagement.
His professional service includes appointments on editorial boards of several scientific journals, service on boards of professional societies, and on National Institutes of Health review panels, including from 1985-1988 as chairman of Visual Sciences B Study Section. He served as chairman of the National Research Council’s Committee on Vision from 1991-95, and on its Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences from 1997 to 2004. He was chairman of the National Research Council Committee on Disability Determination for Individuals with Visual Impairment. From 1992 to 2002 he held a MERIT award from the National Eye Institute. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America.