WASHINGTON, DC — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will award the Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience to Tomaso Poggio, PhD, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The $25,000 prize, supported by The Swartz Foundation, recognizes an individual who has produced a significant cumulative contribution to theoretical models or computational methods in neuroscience. The award will be presented during Neuroscience 2014, SfN’s annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

“Dr. Poggio’s contributions to the development of computational and theoretical models of the human visual system have served to advance our understanding of how human systems learn from experience,” SfN President Carol Mason said. “It is an honor to recognize him as a founder and driving force in the field of computational neuroscience.”

For decades, Poggio has worked to create computational models of how the brain functions. Specifically, he has developed models that mimic the ways that humans learn to recognize objects, such as faces, and actions, such as motion — applications now present in digital cameras and some cars. Poggio is currently working to develop more complex models that mimic the forward as well as feedback signals that the human brain uses during visual recognition, with the ultimate goal of better understanding how the brain works and applying this technology to build intelligent machines.

Poggio earned his PhD at the University of Genoa in Italy and worked at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, until joining the faculty at MIT. There, he is currently the Eugene McDermott professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and director of the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines.

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is an organization of nearly 40,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system. More information about the brain can be found at BrainFacts.org, a public information initiative of The Kavli Foundation, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, and SfN.