Daniel Wolpert is Professor of Motor Neuroscience at UCL. He has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the computations that underlie sensorimotor control processes and how failure in these processes can lead to disorders. He was the first to demonstrate that the human brain makes use of forward models, that is systems which predict the consequences of a motor command, and that such predictions could be used for a variety of computational task, from state estimation to sensory cancellation. In his work on motor planning he has developed a powerful and widely accepted theory that a key problem the motor system has to contend with is neural noise and that many features of motor planning arise from the brain’s attempts to minimize the consequences of that noise. In his work on motor learning he has developed a powerful neural architecture as a model of cerebellar function that is capable of generating control in an ever-changing and uncertain world. He has also applied the modelling approach to understand neuropsychological disorders and demonstrated a cohesive picture of a variety of disorders from optic ataxia, anarchic hand, anosognosia, utilization syndrome and delusions of control that can all arise from simple failures in known aspects of sensorimotor control. The predictions of these models are currently being tested in patient populations.
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Professor Daniel Wolpert FRS FMedSci
Professor of Neuroscience
Department of Neuroscience
Columbia University Medical Centre
computational neuroscience, human sensorimotor controlSection committee elected by
Physics, chemistry, biochemistry, structural biology, mathematical sciences including statistics, informatics, imaging and engineering applied to biomedicine