WASHINGTON, DC — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will present its highest award, the Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience, to Mary E. Hatten, PhD, of The Rockefeller University, at Neuroscience 2017, SfN’s annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health. The $25,000 prize honors an outstanding scientist who has made significant contributions to neuroscience throughout his or her career. Ralph W. Gerard, for whom the award is eponymously named, was instrumental in establishing the Society for Neuroscience and served as its honorary president from 1970 to 1974.


“On behalf of SfN, it is my pleasure to congratulate Dr. Hatten and to thank her for her outstanding research contributions and the role they have played in advancing our understanding of how the brain develops,” SfN President Eric Nestler said. “As an internationally recognized leader in developmental neurobiology, she has made crucial discoveries of basic mechanisms of neurogenesis and neuronal migration during development.”


Head of the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University, Hatten studies mechanisms of neurogenesis, differentiation, and migration during the early stages of embryonic development and has helped to illuminate the architecture of the mammalian brain at the cellular level. Her lab pioneered real-time imaging of central nervous system (CNS) neuronal migration, proving that CNS neurons migrate on radial glia. Her lab also uses genetic and molecular approaches to understand how genetic mutations may give rise to developmental diseases, such as autism and schizophrenia, and to pediatric brain cancers.


Hatten co-developed the Gene Expression Nervous System Atlas (GENSAT), a project to create transgenic mouse lines, making possible neuroscience discoveries around the world. GENSAT is a cornerstone of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, a collaboration across the National Institutes of Health to support research on the nervous system. Her lab also created the first cloned DNA libraries from an identified CNS neuron, which she used to identify more than 80 genes implicated in cerebral development. Hatten has mentored a generation of neuroscientists, many of whom have become standouts in their own right.


Hatten was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences and has won numerous awards, including the Irma T. Hirschl/Monique Weill-Caulier Trust Research Award, the Pew Neuroscience Award, the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience Investigator Award, the NIH Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, the NSF Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers, the American Association of Neuropathologists’ Weil Award, and the Cowan-Cajal Award for Developmental Neuroscience. She has been widely published in Nature, Science, JNeurosci, and other prestigious journals. She has served on editorial boards and is a charter member of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Developmental Brain Disorders Study Section. She is also an avid advocate for women in neuroscience and served as chair of SfN’s Ad Hoc Committee on the State of Women in Neuroscience, and as SfN Treasurer.


The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is an organization of nearly 37,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.