Vivek Jayaraman Receives Young Investigator Award
Washington, DC — The Society for Neuroscience will present the Young Investigator Award to Vivek Jayaraman, PhD, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus, at Neuroscience 2017, SfN's annual meeting and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health. Supported by Sunovion, the $15,000 award recognizes the outstanding achievements and contributions of a young neuroscientist who received his or her advanced professional degree within the past 10 years.
“Dr. Jayaraman's work is providing important insight into how the brain combines sensory cues with information about ongoing actions to make decisions, and will help us to better understand how the brain creates, maintains, and uses internal representations,” SfN President Eric Nestler said.
Vivek Jayaraman, PhD, began his career in neuroscience via an unusual path, first studying aerospace engineering and computer science. He became interested in artificial intelligence and, subsequently, in understanding how sensory and motor information is represented, integrated, and transformed by ensembles of neurons in the brain. Realizing that insects can be excellent models for studying how neural circuits dynamically process sensory information, he used a combination of experimental and computational techniques to uncover circuit principles underlying sensory motor integration in Drosophila, or the fruit fly.
At Janelia, Jayaraman's lab has developed novel technology for performing optical imaging and electrophysiological recordings in behaving fruit flies. This technology has allowed the lab to explore how neural dynamics are influenced by both sensory and motor information, and how this brain activity determines the fly's actions. His lab's insight into the function of a brain circuit that maintains the fly's heading based on visual landmarks and the fly's own movements represents a major advance in systems neuroscience.
“Vivek's recent work is beautiful and important and establishes this circuit as a new one in which systematic analytical work can commence, and in which problems of global relevance for neuroscience can be analyzed at single-neuron resolution,” said Gilles Laurent, director of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research.
The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is an organization of nearly 37,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.