The Berkeley, Calif.-based Minerva Foundation has presented its seventh Golden Brain Award to Robert H. Wurtz, chief of the Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research at the National Eye Institute. The award, which honors basic research on vision and the brain, was presented to Wurtz in December.
For the past 25 years, Wurtz, 55, has been studying vision and oculomotor control in rhesus monkeys--animals whose visual "system is remarkably similar to ours," he says. The ultimate goal of his research on this system, he says, is to determine "why it does not work in cases of trauma and disease in humans."
Among the phenomena Wurtz has investigated are saccadic eye movements, in which the eye moves rapidly from one object in the visual field to another. He and colleagues have found that neurons in an area of the brain called the superior colliculus discharge when such movements are made (R.H. Wurtz, Neurobiology...
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