2018 Dickson Prize in Science Lecture and Presentation

  • Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and Computational Neuroscience
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School; and Anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital
Distinguished Lecture Series

The Dynamics of the Unconscious Brain Under General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is a neurophysiological state in which a patient is rendered unconscious, insensitive to pain, amnestic and immobile, while being maintained physiologically stable. General anesthesia has been administered in the U.S. for more than 170 years, and daily, more than 700,000 people worldwide receive general anesthesia for surgery and invasive diagnostic procedures. The advent of general anesthesia transformed surgery from trauma and butchery to a humane and often life-saving therapy. The mechanism by which anesthetic drugs create the stated general anesthesia has been considered one of the most significant mysteries of modern medicine.

Dr. Emery Brown is the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and Computational Neuroscience at MIT, the Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School and anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Brown is one of the world’s leading physician-scientists. He directs an interdisciplinary team comprised of anesthesiologists, neuroscientists, bioengineers, mathematicians, neurologists and a neurosurgeon from MGH, MIT and Boston University that is studying the neuroscience of general anesthesia. Brown also directs the Neuroscience Statistics Research Laboratory at MGH and MIT where the research develops statistical methods and signal processing algorithms to analyze data collected in neuroscience experiments.

Brown served on President Obama’s NIH Brain Initiative Working Group. He is a fellow of the IEEE, the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors. Brown is one of 21 people who are currently members of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.Brown has received an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, the National Institute of Statistical Sciences Sacks Award and the American Society of Anesthesiologists Excellence in Research Award. 

    CMU's Dickson Prize in Science was established in 1969 by the late Pittsburgh physician Joseph Z. Dickson and his wife Agnes Fischer Dickson. One of the most prestigious awards bestowed by Carnegie Mellon, it is awarded annually to the person who has been judged by the university to have made the most progress in the scientific field that year. A complete list of previous winners can be found on the Dickson Prize website.

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