Karl Friston - Biography#

Karl Friston is a neuroscientist and authority on brain imaging. He invented statistical parametric mapping: SPM is an international standard for analyzing imaging data and rests on the general linear model and random field theory (developed with Keith Worsley). In 1994, his group developed voxel-based morphometry. VBM detects differences in neuroanatomy and is used clinically and as a surrogate in genetic studies. These technical contributions were motivated by schizophrenia research and theoretical studies of value-learning (with Gerry Edelman). In 1995 this work was formulated as the disconnection hypothesis of schizophrenia (with Chris Frith). In 2003, he invented dynamic causal modelling (DCM), which is used to infer the architecture of distributed systems like the brain. Mathematical contributions include variational (generalized) filtering and dynamic expectation maximization (DEM) for Bayesian model inversion and time-series analysis. Friston currently works on models of functional integration in the human brain and the principles that underlie neuronal interactions. His main contribution to theoretical neurobiology is a free-energy principle for action and perception (active inference).

Friston received the first Young Investigators Award in Human Brain Mapping (1996) and was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (1999) in recognition of contributions to the bio-medical sciences. In 2000 he was President of the international Organization of Human Brain Mapping. In 2003 he was awarded the Minerva Golden Brain Award and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006. In 2008 he received a Medal, Collège de France and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of York in 2011. He became of Fellow of the Society of Biology in 2012 and received the Weldon Memorial prize and Medal in 2013 for contributions to mathematical biology.
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