Dr Michaela Dewar, from the School of Life Sciences, has been awarded the 2016 Elizabeth Warrington Prize from the British Neuropsychological Society (BNS).
The prize is awarded annually on the basis of distinguished work in neuropsychology by a person at an early stage in their career.
Dr Dewar is Assistant Professor and Research Leader in Psychology, specialising in neuropsychology. Her research focuses on memory consolidation, the vital process that strengthens new memories so that they can be remembered at a later point in time. Dr Dewar’s neuropsychological work has revealed that new memories are consolidated better when sensory input is reduced in the period after learning.
Dr Dewar said, “Essentially, our research shows that we remember new information better if we take a short rest break immediately after learning than if we focus on new tasks immediately after learning. Our data suggest that such rest breaks are conducive to memory because they allow our memory system to focus on the strengthening of new, fragile memories.
"Importantly, we have shown that rest breaks are especially beneficial for patients with memory impairment, who show remarkable memory improvements under such conditions. These findings in humans are exciting as they resonate with related electrophysiological work in rodents, showing increases in memory-related neural activity during rest and sleep periods.”
As a recipient of this prestigious prize, Michaela will be a life-member of the Society and will give the Prize Lecture at the BNS Spring Meeting in March 2016.
The BNS promotes, shares and celebrates findings and innovations within the field of neuropsychology and cognate subjects. Their biannual meetings are designed as a forum for basic cognitive neuroscientists, clinicians from the clinical neurosciences and allied health professionals in order to present and discuss cutting-edge theory, neuroscience methods, and their translation into clinical practice.