Dr. Jim Houk

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    Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago IL

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    Featured Author: Jim Houk

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    James C. Houk (b. June 3rd, 1939) is a neuroscientist and engineer. He is best known for his contributions to our understanding of subcortical loops through the basal ganglia and the cerebellum.

    After pursuing a Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Michigan Technological University and a Master's degree in the same subject at MIT, he received a PhD (1966) in physiology from Harvard Medical School. Following his PhD, he conducted postdoctoral work in Harvard with Elwood Henneman and in Toulouse with Yves Laporte. After appointments at Harvard Medical School and The Johns Hopkins University, since 1978 he has been a professor of physiology and biomedical engineering at Northwestern University. Jim Houk was awarded the Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator award in 1984, and the Silvio O. Conte Center for Neuroscience Research Award in 1991. Furthermore, he was the recipient of the Award for Outstanding Research from the International Neural Network Society in 1992.

    Houk's main research synthesizes diverse findings from: 1) microelectrode recordings of the messages transmitted along neuroanatomically defined pathways in awake behaving animals; 2) investigation of structural-functional correlations using a variety of neuroanatomical techniques; 3) use of fMRI imaging to identify the brain networks that participate in serial order recall; 4) behavioral and neuroscientific studies of on-line error correction; 5) elaboration of a theory that attempts to explain the central paradox of schizophrenia and tests basic concepts by using adaptive network models of neural signal processing. He is particularly interested in the loops through the basal ganglia and the cerebellum. His work aims to synthesize insight on the interplay of basal ganglia, motor cortex and cerebellum into a coherent theory of voluntary motor control and motor learning, with extensions into cognitive neuroscience and thinking. He approaches these issues from many perspectives with the goal of identifying their fundamental systems level, cellular level, and molecular level mechanisms. His interdisciplinary studies may lead to novel approaches for the treatment of neurological and psychiatric diseases.

    Scholarpedia article:

    Models of basal ganglia. Scholarpedia, 2(10):1633. (2007).

    (Author profile by Nikos Green)

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