Recognizes young scientists who have exhibited ongoing international collaboration based on outstanding science

CHICAGO — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) awarded The Peter and Patricia Gruber International Research Award in Neuroscience to Mingshan Xue, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego, and Eva Pastalkova, PhD, of Rutgers University during Neuroscience 2009, SfN’s annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news on brain science and health. The award is supported by The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and includes $25,000 for each of two promising young scientists who have demonstrated international collaboration in pursuit of advancing the field of neuroscience.

“We are pleased to recognize the international cooperation that these young scientists have demonstrated,” said Thomas J. Carew, PhD, president of SfN. “Solving the great mysteries of neuroscience relies on these efforts and encouraging upcoming scientists to collaborate with their peers is critical for continuing progress in our field.”

Xue’s research into the role of complexin in neurotransmitter release has been important for settling the debate around the molecule’s function in neural activity. During his time at Baylor College of Medicine, his collaborations with the Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental Medicine in Germany helped to distinguish that complexin can have both inhibitory and stimulatory functions, depending on the species in which this activity is being observed.

Pastalkova, who received her PhD from Charles University in Prague, has been instrumental in her studies investigating the neuronal activity underlying memory recall, planning, and reasoning. Her research into the PKMzeta molecule for memory persistence has been recognized as a major advancement in the field. Pastalkova has also contributed to our understanding of the brain’s ability to generate sequences of cell activity without external stimuli, which serve as the basis of memory and decision-making.

The Society for Neuroscience is an organization of more than 39,000 researchers and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.