Professor Seiji Ogawa Receives The 2017 Keio Medical Science Prize

Professor Seiji Ogawa of Tohoku Fukushi University has been awarded the 22nd Keio Medical Science Prize for his work on functional MRI.

AsianScientist (Oct. 4, 2017) – Professor Seji Ogawa of Tohoku Fukushi University has been awarded the 22nd Keio Medical Science Prize. The other recipient of this year’s Prize was Professor John E. Dick of the University of Toronto.

Keio University annually awards the Keio Medical Science Prize to recognize researchers who have made an outstanding contribution to the fields of medicine or the life sciences. It is the only prize of its kind to be awarded by a Japanese university, and seven laureates of this Prize have later gone on to win the Nobel Prize.

Ogawa developed a technique for detecting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signals that depend on blood oxygenation levels in the brain, which he named BOLD, an acronym for Blood Oxygen Level Dependent. He demonstrated that BOLD signals can be used in functional mapping of the human brain following sensory stimulation, establishing the basic principles underlying functional MRI (fMRI).

fMRI has in turn paved the way for the mapping of human brain activity non-invasively and without the use of radioactive isotopes. The ability to measure whole brain activity, which enables the investigation of distributed patterns of activity as well as functional localization of the brain, is one of several key advantages of fMRI.

New applications of fMRI, such as the decoding of brain activity and identification of biomarkers of neuropsychiatric disease, continue to be developed. Ogawa’s pioneering work on fMRI is a milestone technology that plays indispensable roles in contemporary neuroscience.

“It is a great honor to receive the prestigious Keio Medical Science Prize and to join the ranks of the renowned previous laureates. The MRI phenomenon I encountered during my fundamental research a quarter of century ago has seen applications in brain science far beyond my expectations at the time. The successful development of the neuro-imaging field is the product of efforts by great many talented scientists around the world,” Ogawa said.

The award ceremony and commemorative lectures will be held on November 30, 2017 at the Keio University School of Medicine, located on Keio University’s Shinanomachi Campus.


Source: Keio University.
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