WASHINGTON, DC ­­– The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will award the Donald B. Lindsley Prize to Matthew Lovett-Barron, PhD, of Stanford University. Supported by The Grass Foundation, the prize recognizes an outstanding PhD thesis in the area of general behavioral neuroscience.

The $2,500 award was established in 1979 in honor of Donald B. Lindsley, an early trustee of The Grass Foundation. The award will be presented at Neuroscience 2015, SfN’s annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

“The Society is pleased to honor Lovett-Barron for his research on how different types of nerve cells contribute to learning and memory circuits in the hippocampus,” SfN President Steven Hyman said. “His work has great potential to answer unresolved issues in the field of behavioral neuroscience, as well as to identify new therapeutic targets for treatment of panic and anxiety disorders.”

Lovett-Barron, who earned his PhD at Columbia University, used a unique combination of pharmacogenetics, neural recordings, and optogenetics (the manipulation of genetically modified neurons with light) to demonstrate for the first time how neurons regulate the activity of specific cells in the rodent hippocampus during fear learning. As part of this research, he developed a method to watch the activity of individual neurons change as learning occurred over the course of several days. This combination of behavioral and functional imaging experiments allowed Lovett-Barron to test hypotheses about how neurons in the hippocampus and elsewhere in the brain contribute to fear learning.

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is an organization of nearly 40,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.