Society for Neuroscience Presents the Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience
Washington, D.C. — Emery N. Brown, MD, PhD, will receive the 2020 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience. The $30,000 prize, supported by the Swartz Foundation, honors an individual whose work has produced a significant cumulative contribution to theoretical models or computational methods in neuroscience or who has made a particularly noteworthy recent advance to the field. It will be presented during SfN’s Awards Announcement Week 2020.
“Dr. Brown’s seminal scientific contributions to neural signal processing and the theory of anesthetic mechanisms, together with his service as an educator and a physician, make him highly deserving of the 2020 Swartz Prize,” SfN President Barry Everitt, PhD said. “Dr. Brown has demonstrated an unusually broad knowledge of neuroscience, a deep understanding of theoretical and computational tools, and an uncanny ability to find explanatory simplicity lurking beneath complicated observational phenomena.”
Brown is a professor of medical engineering and computational neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, and a practicing anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. His research represents a synthesis of statistics, mechanistic modeling, neuroscience, and the clinical practice of anesthesiology. Brown’s insights and approaches have been critical to the development of some of the first models estimating functional connectivity among a group of simultaneously recorded neurons. He has contributed statistical methods to analyze recordings of circadian rhythms and signal processing methods to analyze neuronal spike trains, local field potentials, and EEG recordings. In addition to these arms of his research, Brown has maintained his commitment to the field of anesthesiology, spending one day a week in the operating room taking care of patients. His interest in mental states and the effects of anesthetic agents drove him to focus his remarkable talents on understanding the patterns of brain activity underlying different states of awareness. Brown has proposed that that the altered arousal states produced by the principal classes of anesthetics can be characterized by analyzing the locations of their molecular targets, along with the anatomy and physiology of the circuits that connect these locations. Overall, his systems neuroscience paradigm, supported by mechanistic modeling and cutting-edge statistical evaluation of evidence, is transforming anesthesiology from an empirical, clinical practice into a principled neuroscience-based discipline.
The Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience is made possible by an endowment to SfN from the Swartz Foundation. The Swartz Foundation’s mission is to explore the application of physics, mathematics, and computer engineering principles to neuroscience, as a path to better understanding the brain/mind relationship.
The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is an organization of nearly 36,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and the nervous system.