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Vol. LIX, No. 10
May 18, 2007
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Solowey Awardee Miller To Lecture, May 31

  Dr. Earl Miller  
  Dr. Earl Miller  
How do we focus our attention and control our actions, often in complex situations? Cognitive control is the ability to organize thought and goal-directed behavior; it emanates from the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain most elaborated in intelligent animals such as humans and other primates. Dr. Earl Miller and his team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology use experimental and theoretical approaches to study the neural basis of high-level cognitive functions. On Thursday, May 31, at noon in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10, Miller will be honored for his work by receiving the 2007 Mathilde Solowey Award in the Neurosciences and delivering a lecture titled, “Rules, Concepts, and Executive Brain Functions.”

He will present work from his laboratory demonstrating that neurons in the prefrontal cortex and related brain areas have properties commensurate with a role in executive brain function. These brain cells are involved in directing attention, recalling stored memories, predicting reward value and integrating information relevant to a particular goal. Perhaps most importantly, they transmit acquired knowledge. Their activity reflects learned contingencies, concepts and rules. In short, they underlie our internal representations of the “rules of the game.”

Miller is Picower professor of neuroscience at MIT and associate director of MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. He received his B.A. in psychology from Kent State University in 1985 and his Ph.D. in psychology and neuroscience in 1990 from Princeton University. From 1990-1995, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Neuropsychology, NIMH. Miller joined the faculty at MIT in 1995, was tenured in 1999 and was named full professor and associate drector of the Picower Center in 2002.

He has received numerous awards and honors for his scientific work, including the National Academy of Sciences Troland Research Award (2000), the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award (2000), the John Merck Scholar Award (1998), the McKnight Scholar Award (1996) and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (1996). He has published papers in Nature, Neuron, Nature Neuroscience and Science, including its Mar. 30, 2007 issue. NIH Record Icon

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