UTHSC researcher tapped to head National Science Foundation grant program
The National Science Foundation (NSF)
has selected Lawrence M. Parsons, Ph.D., of The University of Texas Health
Science Center at San Antonio, to be the founding director of a new grant
program in cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Parsons, associate professor at UTHSC's
Research Imaging Center, will direct the program until 2003.
This is the first time the NSF has endowed a grant program for research
on the human brain, Dr. Parsons said. Funding for the program is expected to
grow to about $100 million.
“This indicates the new importance attached by the scientific community
to basic research in neuroscience,” he said. “The starting budget is about $11
million, but the NSF wants to grow the program so that it entices physicists
and engineers to develop new technology to study the brain and so that it
prompts mathematics and computer modeling experts to develop new methods for
studying brain data.”
Dr. Parsons is a well-known expert in the neural basis of cognition,
perception and motor behavior in humans. A significant portion of his research
involves studies of the function of the cerebellum. He explores the functional
neuroanatomy involved in deduction and probabilistic reasoning; music
perception, comprehension and performance; and visual-spatial reasoning and
mental imagery. He collaborates with peers at the Research Imaging Center, one
of the world's foremost facilities of its kind, and with colleagues in other
departments at the Health Science Center and at other universities.
The NSF has a
system for recruiting front-line researchers for visits of one to three years
to direct a program. The federal agency will provide Dr. Parsons with the time
and funding to return to the Research Imaging Center 50 days a year to continue
his research. He leaves for his new assignment July 1.
Contact: Will Sansom