Jeremy Bailenson, Founding Director
Thomas More Storke Professor of Communication
Jeremy Bailenson is founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Thomas More Storke Professor in the Department of Communication, Professor (by courtesy) of Education, Professor (by courtesy) Program in Symbolic Systems, a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment, and a Faculty Leader at Stanford’s Center for Longevity. He earned a B.A. cum laude from the University of Michigan in 1994 and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University in 1999. He spent four years at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and then an Assistant Research Professor.
Bailenson studies the psychology of Virtual and Augmented Reality, in particular how virtual experiences lead to changes in perceptions of self and others. His lab builds and studies systems that allow people to meet in virtual space, and explores the changes in the nature of social interaction. His most recent research focuses on how virtual experiences can transform education, environmental conservation, empathy, and health. He is the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Stanford.
Talia Weiss, Lab Manager & Director of Medical Research
Talia Weiss received her Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, where she studied Neuroscience and Digital Art. Interested in more deeply exploring the intersection of these two fields, she went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Biomedical Visualization from the University of Illinois at Chicago. While in graduate school she discovered a passion for developing virtual reality applications for medical education and simulation. Talia has experience designing, programming, 3D modeling, and animating for VR and AR applications. As VHIL’s lab manager, she manages teams of undergraduate students, programmers, research assistants and interns, facilitates research projects, coordinates lab outreach, and maintains the lab’s software and hardware. As Director of Medical Research, Talia leads the lab’s medical VR research efforts.
Crystal Chan, Program Manager
Crystal Chan received a BA in Interdisciplinary Computing and the Arts – Music from the University of California – San Diego, focusing on sound design for theatre and film. As someone who was more interested in the effects of interactivity on design and audio, she went on to become an MFA graduate in the Interactive Media and Games Division at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. While in graduate school, Crystal worked as an Associate Audio Designer at Survios, a VR game company based in Culver City. Here she was inspired by VR’s potential, and sought other, more accessible ways to utilize it outside of games and entertainment. Her search led her to the VHIL, where she now serves as a Social Science Research Professional. She is currently a VR Program Manager on a research project done in collaboration with the SPARQ lab.
Tobin Asher, Associate Director, Global Partnerships
Tobin Asher earned his Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Stanford in June 2016. His initial interest in VR was immersive journalism as way of making people feel closer to seemingly distant topics. Tobin started working at VHIL full-time as the lab manager in 2016, and now coordinates partnership opportunities for the lab. He also creates VR interactives, programs virtual worlds, edits video, and composes scores for various VR experiences.
John J. Walker, Web Admin
John J. Walker earned an MA degree in Communication from Stanford and MS and BS degrees in Computer Science from the University of California, Riverside. He has been in charge of the lab’s website since its inception. Along with his website development work within the Dept. of Communication he aspires to utilize software and technology to improve social science research.