Hebrew University of Jerusalem Prof. Haim Sompolinsky and Columbia University Prof. Larry Abbott are the winners of the 1st Annual Mathematical Neuroscience Prize by Israel Brain Technologies (IBT). The two $100,000 prizes were awarded at the 1st annual BrainTech Israel 2013 Conference in Tel Aviv.
Prof. Haim Sompolinsky (photo: Hebrew University)
IBT’s Mathematical Neuroscience Prize honors researchers worldwide who have significantly advanced our understanding of the neural mechanisms of perception, behavior and thought through the application of mathematical analysis and theoretical modeling.
Prof. Sompolinsky is considered a pioneer in the field of computational neuroscience. He specializes in building mathematical models that describe the collective behavior and the informational processing in neural circuits in the brain. His work helps researchers understand the system-wide failures that take place in brain diseases, from epilepsy to psychiatric disorders.
“Computational neuroscience is a vibrant and ambitious field that uses mathematical theories and models to cope with the most daunting challenges – from answering fundamental questions about the brain and its relation to the mind to answering questions posed by the quest to heal the brain’s debilitating diseases,” said Sompolinsky.
Meanwhile, Prof. Abbott won for showing how plasticity mechanisms that change the properties of neural circuits can maintain their proper operation and allow them to change during the learning process.
Inspired by the vision of Israeli President Shimon Peres, IBT was set up to advance Israel’s neurotechnology industry and establish the country as a global hub of brain technology innovation.
“This prize recognizes leaders in the important field of mathematical neuroscience, whose advances support our ultimate quest to find new solutions for the betterment of all humankind,” said Miri Polachek, Executive Director of IBT.