National Academy of Sciences elects Helen Neville as foreign associate

Helen Neville
Helen Neville

The National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday elected UO brain scientist Helen J. Neville as one of 21 foreign associates from 15 countries.

Neville earned the foreign associate honor because her birthplace is Canada. She holds the Robert and Beverly Lewis Endowed Chair in Neuroscience and has been at the UO since 1995.

Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States. Members and foreign associates, who are nonvoting members of the academy, are chosen in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

The NAS elected 84 new members this year in addition to the 21 foreign associates.

Neville's research makes use of psychophysical, electrophysiological and magnetic resonance imaging techniques to study the development and plasticity of the human brain. Her work has regularly  brought new understanding of the nature and mechanisms of human brain plasticity and has led to the design and adoption of education programs that address inequality between students of lower and higher socioeconomic status, especially children.

She has won numerous national and international awards, including the 2011 Transforming Education through Neuroscience Award given by the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society. In 2007, she was elected into American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Among her accomplishments was the release in late 2009 of an educational DVD produced in the UO's Brain Development Lab, which she directs. "Changing Brains: Effects of Experience on Human Development" has since been distributed widely to social service agencies and the general public.

Neville earned a bachelor's degree from the University of British Columbia and a master's degree from Simon Fraser University (British Columbia). Her doctorate is from Cornell University.

- by Jim Barlow, Public Affairs Communications