Denis Pelli studied applied math at Harvard (BA in Applied Math, magna cum laude) and vision at Cambridge (Physiology PhD), with Campbell and Robson. At Minneapolis (one-year postdoc with Legge), Syracuse (professor), and NASA Ames (sabbatical with Watson and Ahumada), he worked on visual requirements of reading and mobility, on visual testing (e.g. the Pelli-Robson Contrast Sensitivity Chart), and on characterizing the limits of visual perception. Since 1995 he has been Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University, studying letter and object recognition. Fall, 2011, and again Fall 2012, he is a Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge University.
Optical Society of America Leadership Award/New Focus Prize, 2000: »Through leadership in visual science, Dr. Pelli has benefited artists, scholars and the visually impaired. His work has made significant contributions that have transcended both interdisciplinary and international boundaries.« He is editor (Associate Advisor) for Journal of Vision (2001–ongoing) and editor for PLoS ONE (2008–ongoing).