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Vol. LIX, No. 7
April 6, 2007

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Raichle To Give WALS Lecture, Apr. 11

Dr. Marcus Raichle
Dr. Marcus Raichle, professor of radiology and neurology at Washington University, St. Louis, will deliver the NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture, “A Default Mode of Brain Function: History of an Evolving Idea,” on Apr. 11 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. NINDS will host the lecture.

Raichle, who also serves as co-director of the division of radiological sciences in the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University School of Medicine, is known for his pioneering research in the development and use of positron emission tomography (PET) to map specific brain areas used in tasks such as seeing, hearing, reading, speaking and remembering as well as emotion.

Raichle was a member of the team that developed PET at Washington University during the 1970s. The technique allows researchers to safely and non-invasively study the living human brain and track and record its function in health and disease. By using PET to monitor blood flow and metabolism in the brain, Raichle and his collaborators were able to show how the brain responds when a subject is asked to perform tasks as diverse as memorizing words or anticipating an unpleasant experience. In addition, they have mapped areas involved in attention, analyzed chemical receptors in the brain, investigated the physiology of major depression and anxiety and evaluated patients at risk for stroke. Raichle’s most recent work has focused on the brain’s intrinsic activity, that which it is doing when not responding to the momentary demands of the environment.

Other work by Raichle and his colleagues evaluated the relationship among blood flow, metabolism and neuronal activity in the brain. This work uncovered the fact that regional brain activation is matched by increases in blood flow that exceed regional oxygen requirements. This discovery provided the physiological principles that led others to develop functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)—which is now the primary technique used in visualizing human brain function.

Raichle earned both his undergraduate and medical degrees—in 1960 and 1964, respectively—from the University of Washington in Seattle. He joined the faculty at Washington University in 1971. His honors include election to the Institute of Medicine in 1991, to the National Academy of Sciences in 1996, and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1998. He has also received the Bristol-Myers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research and the Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. In 2006, he was honored by the University of Washington as its distinguished alumnus.

For more information or reasonable accommodation call (301) 594-5595.— NIH Record Icon

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