Eve Marder and Huda Akil Each Win National Medal of Science
SfN Past Presidents Eve Marder and Huda Akil were each awarded the National Medal of Science by President Joe Biden in a ceremony on October 24. The National Medal of Science the highest recognition the U.S. bestows on scientists and engineers.
Dr. Marder, the Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience and University Professor at Brandeis University and SfN Past President (2007-2008), was honored for her “paradigm-shifting contributions to the understanding of neuronal circuit plasticity, homeostatic regulation of neuronal excitability and individual variability; her visionary application of theoretical and experimental approaches to understanding neural circuits; and her inspirational advocacy of basic science,” according to a White House transcript of President Biden’s remarks.
Dr. Akil, the Gardner C. Quarton Distinguished University Professor of Neurosciences, the Gardner C. Quarton Collegiate Profession of Neurosciences, a professor of psychiatry in the University of Michigan Medical School, a research professor in the Michigan Neuroscience Institute, and SfN Past President (2002-2003), was honored for her “pioneering contributions to our understanding of the brain biology of emotions. Her seminal discoveries of the molecular, neural, genetic, and behavioral mechanisms of pain, substance abuse, and depression have helped identify novel targets for treatments, strengthening our nation’s public health, including the fight to end the opioid epidemic,” according to a White House transcript of President Biden’s remarks.
During Dr. Marder’s SfN presidency, she advocated passionately for the fundamental importance of basic science research and for increased interdisciplinarity across the field. During Dr. Akil’s SfN presidency, she advocated for the critical importance of mental health research, and for more effective public communication about neuroscience, including the establishment of what would become BrainFacts.org, SfN’s neuroscience outreach website.
Since its founding in 1969, SfN has played a critical role in supporting the field of neuroscience, with its mission dedicated to advancing and advocating for scientific exchange, supporting diversity and career training, and educating the public about the importance of neuroscience research. SfN 2023 President Oswald Steward said, “Neuroscientists are proud to celebrate the lifelong accomplishments of Drs. Marder and Akil, and SfN is proud that these distinguished scientists chose to also devote their time as volunteer leaders of our scientific society. Both have been champions of diversity in neuroscience throughout their careers and have served as amazing mentors and role models for so many early career scientists.”
Photos by Ryan K. Morris for The National Science and Technology Medals Foundation