Neuroscientist wins Grammy award

While she didn’t share the stage with Bruce Springsteen or Adele at the 54th annual Grammy Awards, Jessica Grahn is now a Grammy winner.

Grahn, a neuroscientist at Western, has been awarded a grant from the Grammy Foundation for her ongoing research in studying how the brain senses and reacts to music. Announced as one of 18 grants totalling $250,000, The Grammy Foundation Grant Program helps facilitate a range of research, archiving, and preservation projects on a variety of subjects.

The aim of Grahn’s project, which received$19,500, is to understand the neural processes that underpin humans’ unique ability to sense the beat in musical rhythm by utilizing the most advanced magnetic resonance imaging methods available. One of only six research-focused grants awarded across all of North America, Grahn collaborates with Western scientists Stefan Everling and Joe Gati on her project.

“Our ability to literally feel the beat has played a major role in the development of human culture for millennia,” said Grahn, a principal investigator at Western’s Brain and Mind Institute. “Thanks to this gift from the Grammy Foundation, we are able to further explore this unique ability and better understand what it is about music that drives us as a species.”

“For nearly 25 years, our Grammy Foundation Grant Program has been a leader in funding an extraordinary range of scientific research, archiving, and preservation projects,” said Neil Portnow, president and CEO of The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation. “We have provided support for research that seeks to help individuals with speech and movement difficulties, and for a project that will prepare a significant collection of African-American gospel and blues from Memphis and the Mississippi Delta for digitizing and preservation. Each year, we continue to build upon the impressive diversity and quality of our grant recipients, which makes us proud of the role that our Grant Program is playing in protecting our shared musical heritage, and enabling the medical and scientific advances of the future.”

The Grammy Foundation was established in 1989 to cultivate the understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture — from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined musical breakthroughs of future generations of music professionals.