Society for Neuroscience Announces Science Achievement Prizes
SOCIETY FOR NEUROSCIENCE ANNOUNCES SCIENCE ACHIEVEMENT PRIZES
Awards recognize career achievement, contributions to advancement of women, early promise
Washington, DC — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) today announced the winners of science achievement awards given this year at Neuroscience 2008, the SfN annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news on brain science and health.
“These science achievement awards span the field of neuroscience, honoring those early in their career as well as senior scientists, and those who promote the advancement of women in the field,” said Eve Marder, PhD, president of SfN. “The neuroscience community congratulates this year’s winners.”
Mika Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award: Ben Barres, MD, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine
Established in 2000, the Salpeter award recognizes an individual with outstanding career achievements in neuroscience who has also significantly promoted the professional advancement of women in neuroscience.
Ben Barres has personally trained and mentored several women colleagues who are now faculty members at major universities. He has tirelessly lobbied the highest levels of leadership at NIH, HHMI, Stanford University, and in the public arena on behalf of women in science, and has written and lectured about the difficulties women face in scientific fields.
Barres has been professor of neurobiology at Stanford University for the past 15 years. Originally trained as a neurologist, Barres subsequently completed PhD and postdoctoral training in neurobiology at Harvard University and University College, London. His research focus is understanding the role of neuron-glial interactions in central nervous system (CNS) development, function, and disease. He has been highly innovative, developing novel methods to isolate, highly purify, and culture defined types of CNS neurons and glial cells. Using these new purification methods, Barres and his colleagues have made an array of fundamental discoveries in understanding the functional roles of astrocytes at synapses, the mechanism of myelination, CNS regenerative failure, and the blood-brain barrier.
Patricia Goldman-Rakic Hall of Honor: Lawrence Katz, PhD
The posthumous Hall of Honor was established in 2001. After the sudden death of world-renowned neuroscientist Patricia Goldman-Rakic in 2003, the award was renamed in her honor. The posthumous award recognizes sustained exceptional achievements in neuroscience as evidenced by publications, inventions, and/or awards, as well as a demonstrated high degree of imagination, innovation, and initiative in the pursuit of neuroscience, and a dedication to facilitating the advancement of women in neuroscience.
Lawrence Katz was tragically taken by melanoma in November 2006. His outstanding scientific accomplishments were recognized by his being named a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator in 1996 and the James B. Duke Professor of Neurobiology at Duke University in 1998. Katz made seminal discoveries in cortical development and circuitry with an emphasis on the visual system. He defined novel aspects of neurotrophin signaling and regulation in the central nervous system; designed and developed new technologies and methods that transformed fields ranging from photostimulation to fluorescent latex microspheres to biolostics; and most recently provided fundamental insight into the functional organization of the olfactory system.
During his time at Duke, Katz trained many students and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom have gone on to conduct their own high-quality research at prestigious institutions around the world. Katz had a particular dedication to the mentoring and advancement of young women into neuroscience. In his 11 years at Duke, Katz mentored four women who went on to faculty positions and two others who are pursuing top-notch academic postdoctoral fellowships.
Career Development Awards: Tracy Bale, PhD, University of Pennsylvania and Alison Barth, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University
Supported by Merck & Co., Inc., the award, which includes complimentary SfN annual meeting registration and a monetary prize of $2,500, recognizes achievement and promise in neuroscience for early career professionals.
Bale’s research investigates the interface among stress, depression, obesity, and sex differences. Using genetic mouse models to selectively target specific aspects of the question, with analysis of behavioral, molecular, and biochemical markers, Bale is systematically determining the neurocircuitry involved in stress-related disease (such as obesity and depression) in both males and females.
Barth is leading the way to integrate cellular and molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity into normal brain function. Barth has also played a key role in developing methods for imaging circuit function in mice, an important effort for studies of plasticity and learning and memory. Research in the Barth lab has provided great insight into how experience transforms the properties of excitatory synapses.
The Society for Neuroscience is an organization of more than 38,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.