For immediate release.


Award recognizes young scientists who have exhibited outstanding science in an international setting

NEW ORLEANS — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) has awarded The Peter and Patricia Gruber International Research Award in Neuroscience to Lisa M. Giocomo, PhD, of Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and Junjie Guo, PhD, of Whitehead Institute in MIT. The award recognizes two promising young scientists for their outstanding research and educational pursuit in an international setting. It is supported by The Gruber Foundation and includes $25,000 for each recipient. The award was presented during Neuroscience 2012, SfN’s annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

“SfN believes it is important for the greater neuroscience community to recognize the innovative research of young scientists like Dr. Giocomo and Dr. Guo,” said Moses V. Chao, PhD, president of SfN. “Their ability to think outside of the box to answer big questions about their research demonstrates the creativity we need to advance the field of neuroscience.”

Giocomo is making important contributions to understanding how the brain encodes spatial information. By bridging neurophysiology, molecular biology, and mathematical modeling, her work has forged new ways of understanding grid cells, neurons involved in forming spatial maps. Giocomo earned her PhD at Boston University and is a group leader at NTNU.

Guo’s research is leading to new understandings about the role of epigenetics in psychiatric disorders.Epigenetics involves changes in genes that do not involve changes in the genetic code. As a graduate student, he helped develop a new sequencing-based method to probe the genome for clues about how these modifications may influence adult neurons. His current work also examines the epigenetic mechanisms underlying neuronal plasticity — the adaptations nerve cells undergo in response to changes in the environment. Guo, a native of China, earned his PhD at Johns Hopkins University. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Whitehead Institute in MIT.

The Society for Neuroscience is an organization of more than 42,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.