WATANABE RECEIVES NEMKO PRIZE IN CELLULAR OR MOLECULAR NEUROSCIENCE
SAN DIEGO — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) has awarded the inaugural Nemko Prize to Shigeki Watanabe, PhD, of the University of Utah. This new prize acknowledges the achievements of a young scientist in recognition of an outstanding PhD thesis advancing understanding of molecular, genetic, or cellular mechanisms underlying brain function. The prize, which includes $2,500, was established in 2013 by columnist, author, and career coach Marty Nemko, PhD, on behalf of the Nemko family. The prize was presented during Neuroscience 2013, SfN's annual meeting and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
"Dr. Watanabe's determination to test every detail to create the perfect experiment, not just an adequate one has helped earn him the reputation of a gifted young scientist," said Larry Swanson, PhD, president of SfN. "We are happy to honor his advances in cellular neuroscience and look forward to his future contributions to the field."
Watanabe, who earned his PhD at the University of Utah, made two major advances to the field as part of his doctoral thesis, both of which required the invention of new methods and devices. He developed new experimental methods in electron microscopy to localize fluorescently-labeled proteins within cellular structures, allowing him the ability to place labeled proteins into cellular context. Additionally, Watanabe combined optogenetics with a high-pressure freezing technique to probe how synaptic vesicles are recycled within cells. His studies revealed that vesicles are recycled orders of magnitude faster than previously imagined.
Watanabe is currently a postdoctoral trainee at the University of Utah.
The Society for Neuroscience is an organization of nearly 42,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.