Picture of Deniz Korman with owl

Deniz Korman, PhD Student

I am a sensory ecologist curious about the functional morphology and the evolution of eyes. My interest lies in coming up with ways of describing how eyes and vision have evolved across species. While vision is a ubiquitous biological mechanism, we are still in the dark when it comes to a lot of questions surrounding it. My goal is to develop frameworks to describe and understand macro-scale patterns in eye characteristics and tie these back into the animals’ behavior and ecology.

Understanding these patterns can give us a better sense of the ways in which animals perceive their surroundings and provide us new perspectives into life on earth. I believe that these unique perspectives can open the doors to novel creative solutions and technological advancements. In my off time, you can find me putting together feasts from scratch, immersing myself in interactive digital media, or biking around Cincinnati.

2020-present PhD Student, Biological Sciences, University of Cincinnati

2017-2020 Research Associate, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley

2013-2017 BS in Mathematical and Computational Biology, Harvey Mudd College

Picture of Deniz Korman doing fieldwork

Current Research

I am currently working on compiling and interpreting the limited amount of information that we know about the eye morphologies of various spider species. Moving forward, I hope to explore how differences in niches and sensory strategies can explain the diversity of eyes and visual capacities that we observe in spiders.

Prior Research

My interest in sensory ecology bloomed through a series of projects that I tackled during my undergraduate degree through the guidance of Dr. Steven Adolph. As a young scientist, I got to collect samples from field sites, perform eye dissections and retinal whole-mounts, and create energetic models of foraging behavior. This work culminated in my undergraduate thesis on the Sceloporus occidentalis (Western fence lizard), “Modelling Optimal Perch Height in Arboreal Lizards.”

In addition to my sensory ecology work, I also had the privilege of working in the field of Alzheimer’s Disease while I was a part of the Jagust Lab at UC Berkeley. During my time there, I developed extensive pipelines to process and interpret PET and MRI scans from one of the largest Alzheimer’s Disease studies in the US, the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). Working with a brilliant set of scientists, I was able to make contributions towards better understanding this enigmatic disease. The pipelines and datasets that I worked on are still actively being used to this day.


Guo, T., Korman, D., Shaw, L.M., Trojanowski, J.Q., Jagust, W.J., Landau, S.M. and the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. 2020. CSF p‐Tau/AΒ40 ratio adjusts for the variance of CSF production and predicts brain tau accumulation in Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s & Dementia, 16:e038679. https://doi.org/10.1002/alz.038679

Guo, T., Korman, D., Baker, S.L., Landau, S.M., and Jagust, W.J. 2020. Longitudinal cognitive and biomarker measurements support a unidirectional pathway in Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology. Biological Psychiatry, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2020.06.029.

Guo, T., Korman, D., La Joie, R., Shaw, L.M., Trojanowski, J.Q., Jagust, W.J., Landau, S.M. and the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. 2020. Normalization of CSF pTau measurement by Aβ40 improves its performance as a biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy, 12:97. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13195-020-00665-8

Yoon, B., Baker, S.L., Korman, D., Tennant, V.R., Harrison, T.M., Landau, S., Jagust, W.J. 2020. Conscientiousness is associated with less amyloid deposition in cognitively normal aging. Psychology and Aging. 35(7):993-999. https://content.apa.org/doi/10.1037/pag0000582, PMID: 33166168.

Sonni, I., Lesman Segev, O.H., Baker, S.L., Iaccarino, L., Korman, D., Rabinovici, G.D., Jagust, W.J., Landau, S.M., La Joie, R. 2020. Evaluation of a visual interpretation method for tau‐PET with 18F‐flortaucipir. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. 12:e12133. https://doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12133