New Brain Ultrastructure Memorial Prize Announced
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) has established the Jennifer N. Bourne Prize in Brain Ultrastructure with foundational funding from Kristen M. Harris, professor of neuroscience at the University of Texas at Austin. The new award honors the life and work of former Harris mentee Jennifer Bourne, a research assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine who died suddenly on March 12, 2021 at the age of 43.
“Dr. Jennifer N. Bourne was a beloved friend and colleague,” said Harris. “She was an anatomist, electrophysiologist, and above all a passionate electron microscopist whose papers on structural plasticity at synapses are considered classics in the field. This prize honors Jennifer’s legacy of outstanding research and dedication to the field of ultrastructural neuroanatomy.”
The award will be presented annually at the SfN annual meeting, starting at the 2021 SfN annual meeting in Chicago. Recipients will receive a $5,000 prize and complimentary registration, transportation, and two nights hotel accommodation.
The prize will recognize an early-career neuroscientist for outstanding work that advances our understanding of brain structure and structure-function relationships at the nanometer scale. The prize may be awarded for discoveries made through visualization, reconstruction, measurement, and theoretical modeling of ultrastructural components including synapses and other junctions, the cytoskeleton, ribosomes, organelles, and other subcellular structures, or for advances in relevant technologies such as sample preservation, imaging, reconstruction, and data storage and dissemination.
Jennifer Bourne graduated with a PhD in neuroscience from Yale University in 2004. She then joined Harris’ lab as a postdoctoral fellow studying structural plasticity. In 2012, Bourne moved to the University of Colorado School of Medicine as a research assistant professor of cell and developmental biology and manager of the electron microscopy core. She was a member of SfN for nearly two decades.
“The sudden death of Jennifer Bourne was a great loss to her family and friends, and to the neuroscience community,” said Barry Everitt, SfN president. “Yet, Kristen Harris’ great generosity in funding this memorial prize offers an opportunity for Bourne’s professional legacy to live on.”
In addition to Dr. Harris’ funding, SfN has established the Jennifer N. Bourne Prize Fund to invite additional contributions to endow the prize in perpetuity. Contributions may be made by accessing SfN’s donation portal at sfn.org/support-sfn and directing the contribution to the Prize fund.