NDCN's Tim Behrens will receive 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 behaviour. He pioneered the use of non-invasive diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) in order to understand images of the movement of water molecules along axon nerve cells, providing 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 important new information is learned and irrelevant old information is forgotten at the appropriate rates; how neurons encode relationships between items in the world, allowing modeling of what will happen in the future; and how these models extend to complex situations such as social interactions.