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Current Winner - 2021

E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship

Jessica Grahn

E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship

Department of Psychology

University of Western Ontario

Dr. Jessica Grahn is an emerging leader studying the neuroscience of music. Her research program at the University of Western Ontario specializes in discerning the fundamental neural mechanisms of human timing, decoding why we move to rhythm and uncovering how movement and rhythm are connected in the brain. Grahn was the first researcher to establish the neural link between hearing musical rhythm and spontaneous activation of the brain’s motor control system. Her work has established that perception of auditory rhythms directly affects the human motor system, provoking spontaneous movement and eliciting neural motor activity in the absence of movement, even in those with no formal musical training. Grahn’s work on the neural links between rhythm perception and movement is influencing not just the field of music neuroscience but also studies in language, motor planning, timing and sensorimotor integration. She is now applying these insights to health and technology, exploring the use of rhythm as a rehabilitative tool to improve gait in those with Parkinson’s disease.

In recognition of major contributions to the fields of psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Jessica Grahn is awarded a 2021 NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Prize.

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