July 6, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 27


Making the Rounds

Of Note


UTHSC researcher tapped to head NSF grant program

Portrait of Dr. Parsons

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has selected Dr. Lawrence M. Parsons, associate professor at the Research Imaging Center, to be the founding director of a new grant program in cognitive neuroscience. Dr. Parsons 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.

"This indicates the new importance attached by the scientific community to basic research in neuroscience," he said. "The NSF wants to grow the program so that it entices physicists and engineers to develop novel technology to study the brain. Another goal is to prompt mathematics and computer modeling experts to develop novel 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 left for his new assignment July 1.