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Karalyn Patterson awarded 2019 British Neuropsychiatry Association Medal

Posted in Awards & Appointments on 1st May 2019

Karalyn Patterson has been awarded the 2019 British Neuropsychiatry Association Medal for the field-defining work she has conducted in Cambridge over more than four decades. Karalyn’s work has become a blueprint for cognitive neuropsychology, as she has continually developed and adapted cutting edge behavioural, neuroimaging and statistical approaches to relate brain structure to function. She has been particularly influential in defining the syndrome of semantic dementia. In turn, this has defined our modern understanding of the brain basis of semantic memory, with anterior temporal lobe acting as a computational hub, binding together factual knowledge stored throughout association cortex.

Karalyn is hugely loved and respected within the cognitive neuroscience community. She has nurtured and developed generations of scientists, and is consistently humble about continuing and lifelong influence on their careers. She continues to work, applying her expertise to the care of patients with neurodegenerative aphasias in the frontotemporal clinic and collaborating in cutting-edge research on the brain basis of language at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, and the Cambridge Department of Clinical Neuroscience.

Karalyn’s medal lecture, entitled “The Language Disorder in Semantic Dementia: Does it matter which language you speak?” delivered a scintillating overview of her decades of ground-breaking, collaborative work between England and Japan, demonstrating the language-independence of the semantic memory system, and the striking similarity of the cognitive pro-file in semantic dementia across contrasting cultures and linguistic backgrounds.