Assistant Prof. Tolga Çukur from the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Bilkent University is one of the recipients of this year’s Outstanding Young Scientist Award (TÜBA-GEBİP) by the Turkish Academy of Sciences.Çukur has received the award for his work in the fields of cognitive and computational neuroscience.
Dr. Çukur’s studies on neuroscience, which he started at Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley, are now continuing in the National Magnetic Resonance Research Center (UMRAM) at Bilkent University. He develops novel functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), experimental psychology and computational modeling techniques for quantitative evaluation of brain function in healthy subjects and in patients. The primary aim of this research is to generate detailed maps of brain regions involved in visual and other sensory processes, and to determine the effects of attention and learning on sensory perception. Through this aim, he expects to identify computational markers and diagnostic measures for neurodegenerative and developmental diseases. The experimental techniques developed by Dr. Çukur’s group have important implications for advancement of interventional procedures, and for design of novel treatments and medical devices targeting sensory deficits in disorders of the central nervous system.