Zoe Kourtzi

°1971, Griekse

Werkte aan:

Birmingham University, Verenigd Koninkrijk


Nieuwe thuishaven:

K.U.Leuven, Laboratorium voor Neuro- en Psychofysiologie

Zij zal onderzoek voeren over “Learning and brain plasticity for perceptual decisions” (De neurale basis van leren en plasticiteit voor perceptuele decisies).

Haar Odysseus toelagen (Groep I) bedragen 4.920.000 EUR. Zij zal in Leuven starten met een team van 9 onderzoekers.


Academische carrière:

o   Professor, Chair in Brain Imaging, Birmingham University, UK (2005-heden)

o   Research Scientist, Max Planck Institute, Tuebingen, Germany (2002-2005)

o   Visiting Scientist, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (2000-2002)

o   Postdoctoral Training at MIT, Dep. of Brain & Cognitive Science (1998-2002)

o   Postdoctoral Training at Harvard University, Vision Science Lab (1998-1999)

o   Research at Advanced Telecommunications Research, Kyoto, Japan (1997)

o   Research at Cambridge Basic Research, Nissan (1996)


Drie belangrijke publicaties:

Zhang J, Meeson A, Welchman AE, Kourtzi Z (2010) Learning alters the tuning of fMRI multi-voxel patterns for visual forms. J Neuroscience, 30,14127-33. [IF: 7.93]

Kourtzi Z, DiCarlo JJ (2006) Learning and neural plasticity in visual object recognition. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 16, 152-8- [IF: 894, citations:231

Kourtzi 7, & Kanwisher N. (2001) The human Lateral Occipital Complex represents perceived object shape, Science, 24, 1506-9.


Uit het jury-rapport:

Zoe Kourtzi plays a leading role as developer of methods and expert on data analysis. Additionally to her outstanding publication record, Kourtzi has an impressive amount of acquired grant funds. Her scientific career testifies the high grade of scientific independence and high potential for research leadership. The extraordinary high quality of her scientific achievements and the strong existing collaborations with national and international research groups are beyond doubt a guarantee for successful continuation of her research on a longer timescale.

The topic of her project is extremely timely: study of the physiologic, molecular, genetic basis of sensory learning/experience and associated structural/functional brain connectivity patterns is crucial to understand the principles of decision and adaptive behavior across the human life-span and particularly in ageing and neurodegenerative disorders. These are challenging issues for modern neuroscience representing also an increasing financial and social burden for developed Western countries.

Her research project has a truly translational character with a potential to stimulate further research both in corresponding areas of imaging, neurobiology, genetics as well as in development of novel clinical diagnostic/therapeutic approaches for neurological conditions. Kourtzi takes a very promising approach to tackle the addressed problem having access to a unique combination of research tools and facilities. This already assures the novelty and importance of the studies’ outcome.

If successful, the results of the proposed project will definitely change our understanding regarding basic mechanisms of brain structure and function.