Greg Hickok

Gregory Hickok, UCI Distinguished Professor and chair of language science and Distinguished Professor of cognitive sciences, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Joining him in this honor are five faculty from UCI who are recognized this year for their efforts to further science or its applications.

“From his work debunking mirror neurons to the auditory, motor and speech processing involved in language, Greg’s research is not just advancing cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychological methods, but has profound implications for those with aphasia, autism and speech processing or neurodevelopmental disorders,” says Bill Maurer, UCI social sciences dean. “I'm delighted to see him receiving recognition for his many contributions.”

Hickok is a cognitive neuroscientist who uses an integrated behavioral, neuroimaging, and computational approach to study the functional anatomy and computational architecture of language. His tools include advanced neuroimaging and direct neural recording methods including fMRI, DTI, and ECoG used alongside computational models to map and study the brain processes involved in speech and language.

Funded with more than $16 million from the National Institutes of Health, he’s spent the past 20 years homing in on how neural abnormalities affect speech and language in areas of the brain tied to stroke-and neurodegenerative disease-induced aphasia. His work in this area has direct ties to clinical practice as he and his collaborators use his models to better diagnose and treat aphasia patients. Additional topics of research include the neurobiology of sentence processing, the role of neural oscillations in computation, music perception and its relation to language, the neural basis of signed language, and the functional role of mirror neurons. He has published four books and more than 200 articles appearing in Nature, Science, PNAS, Neuron, Journal of Neuroscience, and other outlets.

Hickok earned his Ph.D. in psychology at Brandeis University and was a postdoctoral scholar at MIT and the Salk Institute before he joined UC Irvine in 1996. He served as the founding director of UCI's Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and founder of the Center for Language Science. In addition to his professorial posts in cognitive sciences and language science, he served as the first elected chair of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language and spent five years as editor-in-chief of the Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

UCI’s additional AAAS 2023 named fellows, along with citations, are:

  • Alexander Chernyshev (physics section), professor of physics & astronomy, for contributions to the theoretical understanding of quantum materials.
  • Aimee Edinger (biological sciences section), professor and Chancellor’s Fellow of developmental & cell biology, for distinguished contributions to the field of cancer metabolism, particularly dissecting the signals that control endo-lysosomal trafficking in health and disease.
  • Tryphon Georgiou (engineering section), distinguished professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, for distinguished contributions to mathematical control systems theory.
  • Julie Schoenung (engineering section), professor and chair of materials science and engineering, for distinguished contributions to the synthesis and characterization of advanced structural materials, particularly nanostructured materials, coatings, additive manufacturing and green engineering.
  • Georg Striedter (neuroscience section), professor of neurobiology & behavior, for distinguished contributions to the field of central nervous system evolution, particularly comparative evolution of the brains of humans and avian species, and origins of languages and cognition in the brain. 

“Congratulations to the six UCI researchers who have been named fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science,” said Pramod Khargonekar, vice chancellor for research. “The research conducted by these scholars is of global importance and brings great credit to the entire UCI community.”

A total of 508 AAAS members are being honored this year for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements. The just-elected fellows will receive an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin. They will be celebrated later this year at an in-person event. The new class will also be featured this month in the AAAS News & Notes column in Science. With this year’s cohort, UCI has 203 AAAS faculty, eight of whom are in social sciences.

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