UCC to honour Nobel Laureate

Prof John O’Keefe will become third Nobel Prize winner to be honoured by UCC

Professor John O’Keefe (above)  and Norwegian couple May-Britt and Edvard Moser won the 2014 Nobel Prize for medicine for discovering the brain’s internal positioning system, helping humans find their way and giving clues to how strokes and Alzheimer’s affect the brain. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

Professor John O’Keefe (above) and Norwegian couple May-Britt and Edvard Moser won the 2014 Nobel Prize for medicine for discovering the brain’s internal positioning system, helping humans find their way and giving clues to how strokes and Alzheimer’s affect the brain. Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters

 

A scientist who was yesterday awarded the Nobel Prize is to receive an honorary doctorate from University College Cork later this year in recognition of his contribution to neuroscience, UCC has announced.

Prof John O’Keefe was jointly awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, together with Norwegian scientists May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser, for discovering an “inner GPS” that helps the brain to navigate.

To mark his achievement, UCC is to honour Prof O’Keefe, whose father came from Newmarket, Co Cork, by making him an honorary Doctor of Science when he attends to deliver a lecture at the university on December 15th.

Professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London, Prof O’Keefe in 1971 discovered place cells, neurons within the hippocampus in the brain, that become active when one enters a particular place.

He then proposed the hippocampus as a cognitive map for spatial memory function and his current work focuses on computational models to predict hippocampal function, for which he received the prestigious Kavli Prize in Norway.

Prof O’Keefe will deliver an address at a UCC symposium entitled “The Hippocampus in Health & Disease”, organised by UCC’s department of anatomy and neuroscience and Science Foundation Ireland-funded investigators, Dr Yvonne Nolan and Prof John F Cryan.