Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago IL
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Featured Author: Jim Houk
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.
- Models of basal ganglia. Scholarpedia, 2(10):1633. (2007).
(Author profile by Nikos Green)