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Nils 9

Congratulations to Dr Nils Kolling who has won the prestigious BBSRC Future Leader Fellowship!

Nils will lead a three-year project on the neuroscience of decision making. He will be working in OHBA together with Kia Nobre and Mark Woolrich during his fellowship.

Nils' research examines the neural mechanisms underlying reward-guided decision making, learning and exploration. His recent work explored how humans track an evolving context of risk to inform their choices of whether or not to take contextually justified risks. 

Every day people make many kinds of decisions. However, decision neuroscience has mostly sidestepped questions of how people dynamically assess whether to engage with a decision in the first place and if a decision strategy is consistent with more overarching goals,” Dr Kolling describes. “The overall aim of my work is to understand higher-order decision-making behaviour that affects not just our preferences but how much energy we invest and for how long.

The project will focus on two issues that emerge under naturalistic conditions – setting motivational states by tracking changing environments, and flexibility in environment-driven decision strategy. Nils will use different types of brain imaging and electrophysiological measurements to understand ecological voluntary behaviours, specifically MEG and fMRI in humans and single-unit electrophysiology in non-human primates. Ultimately, the work aims to inform a better understanding of disorders of reward, learning and choice.

The award is for £357,000 and supports the transition of highly skilled early career researchers to fully independent leaders.

Read more about the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) fellowships here.

Read more about Nils’ work here.