Robert Turner is a physicist with a special interest in the human brain. He conducts research on in-vivo neuroanatomy, relating human cytoarchitecture (how neurons are organised in space) to myeloarchitecture (how neurons are connected) in order to remove the guesswork currently involved in assigning function to brain structures and thus facilitate more concrete and testable dynamic models of human brain systems. As part of his research, Turner will also study in-vivo changes in human myeloarchitecture during brain development and learning, and participate in functional studies of the basal ganglia. As a physicist, he will actively advise the group of scientists preparing the 7T MRI scanner under installation at the AMC-UvA for use in human brain research.
Turner is emeritus director of the Neurophysics Department at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. He has been honorary professor at Leipzig University since 2009. Turner is internationally recognised as one of the key players in the discovery of MRI and functional MRI. He built his own MRI scanner in 1984, designed and built gradient coils for MRI, and, at the Institute of Neurology in London, established fMRI as a tool for cognitive neuroscience. He has published widely in a broad range of disciplines, in journals ranging from Science and Cerebral Cortex to Anthropological Theory.