Neuroscientist granted 15th Vehbi Koç award

Neuroscientist granted 15th Vehbi Koç award

Neuroscientist granted 15th Vehbi Koç award

AA photo

A Turkish scientist famous for his work on human brain has been awarded the 15th Vehbi Koç Award, a prestigious award that is granted to individuals and organizations annually by the Vehbi Koç Foundation in honor of the Koç Group’s founder.

Professor Kamil Uğurbil received his award from Koç Holding chairman Ömer Koç, with a ceremony held at İş Sanat Culture Center. The award is given to individuals or organizations that have significantly contributed to the people and development of Turkey and to those who achieved excellence and carried out remarkable work in the fields of education, health or culture. Notables such as Nobel-winning scientist Aziz Sancar, mathematician Ali Nesin, doctor Türkan Saylan and poet Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca have been awarded the prize previously.  

Uğurbil, who is known as “the Turk who solved the brain’s mystery,” was given the award for his magnetic resonance studies that served to develop new technologies studying the function of human brain and exploring solutions to disorders and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and depression. Technologies that were developed thanks to Uğurbil’s studies have become crucial in the diagnosis of these kinds of brain diseases and disorders along with the planning of the treatments and patients’ response to these treatments.  

“I am one of the people who developed the technique called functional MR. I thank you not just for this award granted to me, but also for giving such an award to scientists; this is a very meaningful support for the development of science,” said Uğurbil, during his speech at the ceremony. 

Uğurbil currently holds the McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair Professorship in Radiology, Neurosciences, and Medicine and is the Director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) at the University of Minnesota.

Delivering a speech during the ceremony, Ömer Koç said some nine years ago Nobel-winner Aziz Sancar was granted the award at a time when he was a mostly unknown scientist. 

“How can a foundation add value to people’s lives? How can it be a solution to development, prosperity and enlightenment of a society?” asked Koç. He answered that producing information and being an example to other philanthropists are the means by which associations may contribute to human life.
“With our shining scholarship holders, students and teachers at our education institutions, our patients in our hospitals and visitors in our museums, we are a huge family that adds value to each other’s lives and our family is growing with the power of our new projects every day,” said Koç. 

The award ceremony usually takes place on Feb. 25 of each year, which is the anniversary of Vehbi Koç’s death. However, due to the “untimely loss” of the group’s former chair Mustafa Koç on January 21, the ceremony was rescheduled.