Marisa Roberto Receives Jacob P. Waletzky Award
WASHINGTON, DC — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will award Marisa Roberto, PhD, of The Scripps Research Institute with the Jacob P. Waletzky Award. Established in 2003 and supported by the Waletzky Award Prize Fund and the Waletzky family, this $25,000 award is given to a scientist who has conducted research, or plans to conduct research, in the area of substance abuse and the brain and nervous system. The prize will be presented at Neuroscience 2016, SfN’s annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
“The Society gladly recognizes Dr. Roberto’s contributions to the field of addiction research,” SfN President Hollis Cline said. “Not only has she offered seminal contributions to our understanding of the brain mechanisms involved in alcohol dependence, but she also demonstrates a strong drive to lead the next generation of researchers.”
Roberto has focused on learning about specific changes to synapses — the junctions between neurons — that can lead to dependence on alcohol and other drugs. During two decades of independent research, she examined how ethanol alters the mix of molecules that pass messages in the brain from cell to cell. Roberto showed how alcohol dependence provokes the brain to release a key signaling molecule in the synapse that, as a result, can hinder certain cell-to-cell communications. She also discovered that an anti-seizure drug can mitigate some of those effects, potentially offering a treatment for alcohol dependence. More recently, she has expanded her inquiries into how stress can exacerbate alcohol’s addictive effects.
Roberto earned her PhD from the University of Pisa in Italy and went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at the Scripps Research Institute, where she is currently a professor with the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders.
The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is an organization of nearly 38,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.