Scheme: Royal Society Research Professorship
Organisation: University College London
Dates: Oct 2009-Nov 2011
Summary: All aspects of our mental life depend on the brain. While we normally benefit from its complex functioning, people can also become the tragic victims of its malfunction, as in cases of dementia, say, or following a stroke. Cognitive Neuroscience is the scientific study of how the brain supports the mind, or of how cognitive processes relate to neural processes. My group studies this for humans, in health and disease. We focus mainly but not exclusively on perception. This includes study of crossmodal interplay between our different senses (e.g. how our vision can affect our hearing or touch, and vice-versa). We also study how sensory processing can be modulated by cognitive factors such as attention (e.g. what we are currently looking out or listening for); working memory (e.g. what we are keeping in mind or thinking about); or even reward (e.g. which stimuli are currently of motivational significance, and how our state or emotions affect this).
These topics turn out to be closely related as they all depend on how different parts of the brain influence each other. Early studies of the brain sought to identify separate functions for each part, but new perspectives suggest that studying how the different parts can influence each other is critical. We are developing new methods for studying this noninvasively in the normal or damaged human brain as people carry out particular tasks. Our approach includes combining local brain stimulation with concurrent imaging of the impact on brain activity, not only for the stimulated part of the brain, but also for remote interconnected brain areas that communicate with the targeted site. This research involves not only healthy people, but also neurological patients and other clincal populations, with the basic science leading to possible new interventions and treatments, including efforts to remediate cognitive deficits after brain injury by new forms of targeted brain stimulation; by new learning procedures; and by new drugs.
Scheme: Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship
Dates: Oct 2007-Sep 2008
Summary: This project summary is not available for publication.
Scheme: International Incoming Fellowships
Dates: Oct 2006-Sep 2009
Scheme: Wolfson Research Merit Awards
Dates: Aug 2001-Jul 2006