1995: Damasio

Professor Antonio R. Damasio
University of Iowa, Iowa City

UI's Damasio receives 1995 Golden Brain Award from Minerva Foundation

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Dr. Antonio R. Damasio, Maurice Van Allen Professor and head of the Department of Neurology in the University of Iowa College of Medicine, has won the 1995 Golden Brain Award from the Minerva Foundation for his groundbreaking work on the brain basis of rationality and decision-making.

In conjunction with the award, he will present a lecture on Friday, Nov. 17, on the University of California-Berkeley campus and will receive the award at a dinner that evening.c

In announcing the award, Minerva Foundation Executive Director Elwin Marg says, "Damasio's theories of how rationality has developed and his study of the role of emotion in the behavior of patients with lesions of the frontal cortex have illuminated how emotions and feelings contribute to how we reason."

Marg, who also serves as professor of vision science at the University of California-Berkeley, described Damasio's work as "original and highly significant."

The Minerva Foundation, based in Berkeley, was established in 1984 to promote basic research on vision and the brain. The Golden Brain Award honors researchers who are making fundamental breakthroughs that extend knowledge of the brain and expand understanding of important physiological functions.

Damasio is the 11th recipient of the award, which is presented annually to a scientist for exceptional basic research on vision and the brain. Past recipients of the award include William Newsome and Denis Baylor of Stanford University; Robert Wurtz of the National Eye Institute; John Allman of the California Institute of Technology; Rudiger von der Heydt, Jeremy Nathans and Gian Poggio, all of Johns Hopkins University; Semir Zeki of University College, London; David Sparks of the University of Pennsylvania; and Robert Desimone of the National institute of Mental Health.

Damasio joined the UI faculty in 1976 and became head of the Department of Neurology in 1986. He was named Maurice Van Allen Distinguished Professor in 1989.

His most recent book, "Descartes' Error; Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain," is being translated into 12 languages and is reaching lay audiences as well as readers in the scientific and medical communities. In it, Damasio says that mind and body, reason and emotion are inextricably intertwined, and that emotion is at least as important a brain function as cognition.

He and his colleague and wife, Dr. Hanna Damasio, have created a leading research center at the UI for the study of the neural basis of cognition and behavior.

Damasio also serves as an adjunct professor with the Salk Institute and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, and several other societies, boards of leading neuroscience journals and research foundations.

1995: Professor Antonio R. Damasio