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Tim Behrens, Professor of Computational Neuroscience at the Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain, University of Oxford, received one of the 2017 Troland Research Awards

Behrens’ work combines the fields of computer engineering, neuroscience and psychology to provide a better understanding of how the functions of various parts of the brain lead to behavior. He pioneered the use of diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) in order to understand images of the movement of water molecules along axon nerve cells, providing non-invasive insight into how the different parts of the brain communicate with each other. The software package he devised for analyzing DW-MRI data has since become the standard for human brain and behavior investigation.

Behrens has also advanced understanding of the mechanisms of decision-making and learning in the prefrontal cortex. His work has addressed questions such as: How we make sure we learn important new information and forget irrelevant old information at the appropriate rates; how our neurons encode relationships between items in the world, allowing us to model what will happen in the future; and how these models extend to complex situations such as social interactions where we must model the intentions of others.

With nearly 150 papers to his credit, Behrens’ work has already been cited more than 33,000 times, an indication of his leadership in the field.

Two Troland Research Awards of $75,000 are given annually to recognize unusual achievement by young investigators (defined as no older than 40) and to further empirical research within the broad spectrum of experimental psychology. The Troland Research Award was established by a trust created in 1931 by the bequest of Leonard T. Troland.


Watch Behren's Acceptance Speech »

2017 Neuroscience, Psychology, and Criminology Press Release »

Troland Research Awards »

2017 NAS Award Recipients »

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