Society for Neuroscience Presents Julius Axelrod Prize to Morgan Sheng
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will present the Julius Axelrod Prize to Morgan Sheng, MBBS, PhD. Supported by an endowment from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, the $30,000 Axelrod prize honors distinguished achievements in neuropharmacology or a related area in addition to exemplary efforts in mentoring young scientists. The award will be presented during SfN’s Awards Announcement Week 2020.
“Dr. Morgan Sheng’s work has revolutionized our understanding of the synapse, forming the basis of the postsynaptic density as a network of proteins controlling signaling and dendritic spine morphology,” said SfN President Barry Everitt, PhD. “Through his passionate mentoring of his students and postdocs, he has also led a new generation of neuroscientists to pursue their own groundbreaking work.”
Morgan Sheng, MBBS, PhD is the co-director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. During his extremely productive career, Sheng has transformed our understanding of synapse biology and dendritic spine plasticity, elucidating mechanisms behind normal processes like learning and memory as well as neurological diseases. In addition to discovering or making key findings about multiple postsynaptic density proteins and plasticity mechanisms (such as, PSD-95, Shank, NMDA receptor signaling and AMPA receptor trafficking, to name only a few), Sheng revealed the quantitative arrangement and shape of these proteins within the synapse. Many of the synaptic proteins he discovered are implicated in diseases ranging from neurodevelopmental disorders to neurodegenerative diseases; he has led efforts to develop treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and is now engaged in a multidisciplinary effort towards understanding disease mechanisms and developing new therapies for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
In addition to his pioneering research, Sheng has mentored over fifty scientists, including graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from around the world. Thanks to his teaching and style of encouraging independence, many are now world-leading neuroscientists making remarkable contributions in their own right.
The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is an organization of nearly 36,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and the nervous system.