Institute of Neuroscience

Staff Profile

Ruben Pastilha

Marie Sklodowska-Curie ITN Fellow


Summarised CV

Ruben graduated with honours in 2015, receiving marks at the top of his class on the Optometry and Vision Sciences undergraduate course of the University of Minho (UMinho) at Portugal. During this course, he received 5 different awards for academic merit and completed a Scientific Initiation Scholarship at the Colour Science Lab of UMinho.

He stayed in this lab, under the supervision of Sergio M. C. Nascimento, until 2018 working on colour vision and colourimetry, while also attending a master course in Advance Optometry and working on the staff team of the distance learning course of Visual Therapy from the same university.

His master thesis on “Chromatic Filters for Colour Vision Deficiencies” received a grade of 19 out of 20 values in 2018. During his master’s thesis, Ruben collaborated with the largest hospital centre of Portugal (CHUC) and the lens manufacturer Shamir Optical to produce coloured lenses for improving skin erythema detection by medical practitioners with colour vision deficiencies. His master’s thesis also studied dichromats’ ability to discriminate colours of real-world scenes, by using a colour discrimination test based on real spectral stimuli. The results were presented at the International Colour Vision Society Summer School (2016) and received the best research project award.

He has also been an active agent on outreach initiatives, collaborating on 3 European Research Nights events and preparing several outreach events on visual illusions, colour-blindness awareness and myopia awareness.

Currently, he is an Early Stage Researcher at the Institute of Neuroscience of Newcastle University, doing a Neuroscience PhD in the scope of the DyViTo: “Dynamics in Vision and Touch – the look and feel of stuff”, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action – Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN/ETN). 


Dynamic Illumination and its Effects on Material and Object Perception

In real world conditions, illuminations often exhibit dynamic behaviour related to time variations in properties like spectral properties and spatial configuration, with which the visual system must cope. The study of how the human visual system reacts when those changes occur and to which extent it senses them would contribute to the understanding of the perception of dynamic changes in illumination on their own and in relation to the perception of object properties and visual identification of objects.

It is important to establish how changes in physical properties of the illumination affect the material appearance, object recognition, aesthetic appreciation and other visual properties of objects that might be relevant in behavioural tasks. The study of the influence of dynamic changes in illumination on visual perception might consequently address different perceptual phenomena within visual processing (e.g. colour constancy, colour memory, etc.).



This PhD project fits within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action – Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN/ETN) DyViTo: “Dynamics in Vision and Touch – the look and feel of stuff” (

DyViTo is a European cohort with research and training purposes in the fields of haptics and vision with a strong link to the museum and industry sectors.



Most of the project will take place at the Hurlbert Lab within the Institute of Neuroscience of the Newcastle University. But due to the secondments policy of DyViTo, some research and outreach work is also planned at the Delft University of Technology, the National Gallery, London, and the company Ledmotive.



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 765121.



Research interest:

Dynamic illumination

Illumination perception

Colour Vision

Colour Vision Aids

Sensorial and perceptual illusions