David Hunter Hubel


David Hunter Hubel
(1926)


Canadian-born American neurobiologist, corecipient with Torsten Nils Wiesel and Roger Wolcott Sperry of the 1981 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. All three scientists were honoured for their investigations of brain function, Hubel and Wiesel in particular for their collaborative discoveries concerning information processing in the visual system.
Hubel attended McGill University in Montreal, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1947 and a doctorate in medicine in 1951. He held positions at the Montreal Neurological Institute, at the Johns Hopkins Medical School (where his association with Wiesel began), and at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C., before joining the faculty of the Harvard Medical School, along with Wiesel, in 1959. They began collaborating on research that same year.

One of their outstanding achievements was the analysis of the flow of nerve impulses from the retina to the sensory and motor centres of the brain. Using tiny electrodes, they tracked the electrical discharges that occur in individual nerve fibres and brain cells as the retina responds to light and the patterns of information are processed and passed along to the brain.

In 1965 Hubel became professor of physiology and, in 1968, the George Packer Berry professor of neurobiology. He became a U.S. citizen in 1953.


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