Autism researcher awarded Philip Leverhulme Prize

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A UK neuroscientist has been awarded a prestigious prize for research on how individuals with autism recognise and respond to emotions

Bhismadev Chakrabarti, Associate Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Reading, is one of 30 2015 Philip Leverhulme Prize Winners selected from six disciplines. He and four others received Prizes for research in the field of Psychology.

Worth £100,000 a year the Philip Leverhulme Prizes recognise the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising.

Dr Chakrabarti, said: ‘I feel very honoured. I am grateful to all my mentors and collaborators, and especially the fantastic colleagues at Reading who have provided a supportive and intellectually stimulating environment all through.’

Professor Laurie Butler, Head of the University of Reading’s School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, said:

‘Many congratulations to Bhisma. His cutting-edge work is helping to shed crucial light on the driving factors behind Autism Spectrum Conditions which could make a real difference to people’s lives in the future. The Prize is fully deserved.’

Dr Chakrabarti’s research group uses a range of research techniques including psychophysiology, eye-tracking, and functional MRI.

The prize will support new work on how people respond to different types of rewards including social rewards, such as smiling faces or a pat on the back, and non-social rewards such as chocolate. The aim is to help understand why some individuals find it easy to understand and respond to social stimuli while others struggle with it.

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