About me

I aPortrait1m a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow at the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge. I was trained in computer science and psychology, and after several years as a software developer in the industry I moved back to university to pursue a PhD and a career in science. In my work, I am keen to understand basic neural mechanisms as well as apply scientific methods and knowledge to clinical use.

Click here for a recent film by the BBC about my work: cognitive mapping during awake brain surgeries for patients with brain tumours.

I am interested in how we process information, choose the pieces of information that are relevant to us and discard the others. More broadly, I am interested in the brain systems that support cognitive control – a collection of cognitive functions such as attention, planning, reasoning and problem solving. I aim to understand the neural codes that underlie cognitive control and information processing in health and disease: how stages of processing are dynamically reflected in different types of neural signals, what happens to the neural system when it fails to appropriately process information, what factors influence these failures, and how we can improve the way we process information and solve problems.

My work combines a variety of techniques such as neuroimaging (fMRI), electrocorticography (ECoG), behavioural and computational methods to investigate goal-directed, adaptive and flexible information processing. Beyond basic science questions, the clinical application of my work involves multi-modality functional mapping in patients with brain tumours before, during and after surgeries.

Please contact me if you are interested in joining my group: yaara.erez@mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk.

Biography

In 2002 I completed my B.Sc. in Computer Science and Psychology (two majors, Summa cum Laude) at Tel-Aviv University, Israel. Following several years as a software developer in Dmatek Ltd (currently 3M), I started my PhD in Systems neuroscience with Izhar Bar-Gad and Moshe Abeles at the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. I used single-cell recordings and electrical stimulation in the basal ganglia to understand the neural mechanisms underlying deep brain stimulation (DBS) in Parkinsonism. I completed my PhD in 2010 and worked as a postdoctoral fellow for one year with Galit Yovel at the School of Psychological Sciences at Tel-Aviv University, looking at the modulation of object representation by its surroundings. I was then awarded both a Newton International postdoctoral Fellowship (The Royal Society and British Academy, UK) and a European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) long-term postdoctoral fellowship. In 2012, I moved to the UK to work with John Duncan at the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge and study the neural representations of task-related information. In 2014 I was awarded a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship to explore the neural basis of attentional states.

More links:

My Royal Society page

My Cambridge Neuroscience page

My Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (CBU) page

The Royal Society announcement – Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellows