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After medical training in Cambridge, Oxford and London, he completed his PhD under the supervision of Chris Frith at University College London's Functional Imaging Laboratory in 1999. He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Christof Koch's laboratory at the California Institute of Technology for two years before returning to the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London in 2001. In 2002 he became a group leader with the award of a Senior Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust. His Senior Fellowship was renewed for a further five years in 2007. His work has been internationally recognised with the award in 2003 of the Young Investigator Medal of The Organization for Human Brain Mapping In 2007 he was awarded the Experimental Psychology Society Prize and gave the Royal Society Francis Crick Lecture. His H-index is 26.
His work focuses on the neural mechanisms underlying human consciousness in health and disease. At present most work focuses on the neural correlates of particular types of conscious content, aiming to distinguish between conscious and unconscious representations in the human brain. As a considerable amount is already known about the anatomy and physiology of the visual system, much of the research in the laboratory focuses on visual awareness. However, his laboratory also studies the auditory and somatosensory systems. Most research involves functional MRI at high field, in combination with behavioral studies, transcranial magnetic stimulation and EEG/MEG. Previous work by Rees has suggested that subjective awareness of objects in the visual environment is associated not just with enhanced activation in visual areas of the occipital lobe, but also areas of parietal and prefrontal cortex often associated with attention. A major focus of this work is therefore in studying interactions between visual cortex and these areas, both in the context of attention, and with respect to eye movements.
He recently co-edited a large reference book entitled the Neurobiology of Attention with Laurent Itti and John Tsotsos, and is the author of numerous articles and invited reviews on the functional imaging of consciousness.
He was a member of the board of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness until stepping down in 2007, and with Patrick Wilken organised its tenth annual meeting that was held at St. Anne's Collge, Oxford in June 2006.
Teaching and trainingEdit
Rees is elected Deputy Chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) Medical Academic Staff Committee (MASC) for 2007, and leads on policy development concerning medical academic training. He is a member of the MMC Programme Board for England, the 'Walport' committee of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration developing Academic Clinical Fellow and Clinical Lecturer schemes, and leads the local ACF and CL schemes at University College London. He is also course director for the last decade for the highly successful Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) Part 1 courses in London run by Pastest.
Haynes JD, Deichmann R, Rees G (2005) Eye-specific effects of binocular rivalry in the human lateral geniculate nucleus Nature 438, 496-99.
Itti L, Rees G, Tsotsos J. (Eds) The Neurobiology of Attention. Academic Press (2005). ISBN 0-12-375731-2
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