Image of the Week: Prof John O’Keefe receives his Nobel Prize

Wellcome Trust Blog

John O'Keefe

The image of the week is Professor John O’Keefe, being awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which he shares with Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser. The Wellcome Trust has supported O’Keefe’s work for over ten years and he is Director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour.

The Nobel Laureates discovered a positioning system, the ‘inner GPS’ in the brain, which makes it possible for us to orient ourselves in space. In 1971, John O’Keefe discovered the first component of the positioning system, called ‘place cells’.

He found that a type of nerve cell in an area of the brain called the hippocampus was always activated when a rat was at a certain place in a room. Other nerve cells were activated when the rat was at other places. O´Keefe concluded that these place cells formed a map of the room, laying the foundation…

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Author: Shane O'Mara


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