UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Professor Karl Friston awarded the Glass Brain Award from the Organisation of Human Brain Mapping

19 July 2016

Professor Karl Friston (FRS), from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UCL Institute of Neurology has been awarded the Glass Brain Award from the Organisation of Human Brain Mapping, for his extraordinary lifetime accomplishments in the field of human brain mapping.

Professor Cathy Price, Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging,  UCL Institute of Neurology, comments on his achievements:

"Friston’s  groundbreaking work in statistics, computational modelling and theoretical neurobiology has resulted in  seminal contributions in many areas of cognitive neuroscience and psychiatry.

For example, Friston provided a comprehensive framework for the analyses of structural and functional neuroimaging data, named “statistical parametric mapping“ (SPM). This work underpinned the massive acceleration in the use of imaging technology to quantify the structural and functional principles of human brain organization including the non-invasive assessment of effective connectivity and other physiological processes. 

Over the last decade, Friston has elucidated a cogent and ambitious theory of brain function based on a free energy principle of perception and action. This approach integrates decades of research from the machine learning community on deep hierarchical learning with neuroimaging and psychological research on predictive coding.

This is an exciting endeavour that is also engaging many researchers outside our discipline, including philosophers, robot engineers and theoretical physicists, and offering a unique means to understand the basic mechanisms that guide the functional organization of the human brain.

Moreover, the free energy principle is already showing considerable impact in the clinical domain, guiding models of psychiatric symptoms and informing the design of innovative neuroimaging experiments. Friston’s own exploration of the clinical value of these models, in fields as diverse as psychosis, autism and Parkinson's disease, is extraordinarily influential and informative."

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