PhD (Phys), 1973
SFU OUTSTANDING ALUMNI AWARD RECIPIENT, 2009
Dr. Robert Turner is among a pioneering group of global physicists who helped create today’s most widely used method of mapping brain function: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In the mid 1980’s, he collaborated with fellow scientists Barry Chapman, Sir Peter Mansfield and Roger Bowley to produce a rigorous mathematical framework which proved essential and indispensable to the development of MRI technology. Dr. Turner’s work involved the precise design of MRI gradient coils to allow ultra-fast echoplanar imaging (EPI), capable of recording the rapid changes in blood flow associated with brain function. His design principles are now universally employed by all MRI scanner manufacturers. His pivotal contributions were recognized by Sir Peter Mansfield who received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for MRI discoveries. Dr. Turner’s subsequent work in the field of MRI and human brain research is distinguished and world-renowned. He has authored 7 patents and 150 scientific publications that have been cited thousands of times. He is currently the Director of Neurophysics at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. Here he uses his scientific expertise and some of the world’s most sensitive and sophisticated MRI technology for functional and anatomical brain mapping. His quest is to discover what MRI methods can teach us regarding the structure and function of the human brain. The answers will provide safer and more effective treatments for a wide range of neurological and psychiatric conditions.