Nancy Kanwisher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology McGovern Institute for Brain Research, received the 2022 NAS Award in the Neurosciences.

Kanwisher is a pioneer in cognitive neuroscience known for her landmark discoveries about the functional organization of the human brain.

Her research using functional magnetic resonance imaging and behavioral testing have illuminated the neural and cognitive mechanisms underlying human visual perception and cognition.  She is credited with co-discovering and characterizing the fusiform face area in the human brain, a region that she has shown to be specifically engaged in the perception of faces. 

Kanwisher and her team have further discovered neocortical subregions that differentially engage in the perception of faces, places, music, the mental state of others, among other features.  These findings support ideas from cognitive science that emphasize the modularity of mind and link those ideas to neuroscience.  

In addition to her scientific accomplishments, Kanwisher has served as a mentor and inspiration to new generations of young neuroscientists.

Kanwisher is currently the Walter A. Rosenblith Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, and an investigator in the McGovern Institute for Brain Research.

The NAS Award in the Neurosciences is awarded every three years to recognize extraordinary contributions to the progress of the neuroscience fields, including neurochemistry, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, developmental neuroscience, neuroanatomy, and behavioral and clinical neuroscience. The award was established by the Fidia Research Foundation and is presented with a $25,000 prize.


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