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Italian wins 'brain prize', first for country

Giacomo Rizzolatti honored for neuroscience breakthroughs

27 March, 16:20
Italian wins 'brain prize', first for country (ANSA) - Rome, March 27 - The 2014 'brain prize' for neuroscience went to an Italian for the first time on Thursday.

Giacomo Rizzolatti, a neurophysiologist at the University of Parma, is best known for leading the team that discovered mirror neurons in the frontal and parietal cortex of the macaque monkey. Rizzolatti shares the one-million-euro prize with scientists Stanislas Dehaene and Trevor Robbins for their "pioneering research on higher brain mechanisms underpinning such complex human functions as literacy, numeracy, motivated behaviour and social cognition, and for their efforts to understand cognitive and behavioural disorders," said the Denmark-based Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation, which awards the annual prize. Rizzolatti said he hoped the prize would "stimulate the new (Italian) government to invest more research, to overcome the lack of attention it currently gets". An official award ceremony will be held in Copenhagen on May 1.