Public Release: 

Science and Eppendorf award first annual prize in neurobiology

Young neurobiologists honored

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Washington, DC--The winner of the 2002 international Prize in Neurobiology, awarded by the journal Science and Eppendorf, goes to Anjen Chenn. He is being recognized for excellence in his work on neurogenesis and genetic regulation of brain size.

This is the inaugural year for the Eppendorf & Science Prize in Neurobiology, which will annually award the most outstanding neurobiological research by a young scientist, as described in a 1,000-word essay based on research performed during the past three years. The Grand Prize winner will receive US$25,000 from Eppendorf, and his essay will be published in the 25 October 2002 issue of Science.

Three finalist essays will be published at Science Online (http://www.scienceonline.org). The awardee and finalists will be recognized at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in November this year.

The thin layer of neurons in the brain responsible for harnessing mental skills like reading, writing, and problem solving--the cerebral cortex--has, over the course of evolution, expanded in size, especially in humans and other primates. In his essay, "Making a Bigger Brain by Regulating Cell Cycle Exit," Chenn describes his studies of the mechanism by which brain growth may occur, since little is known about how brain cells are generated from precursor cells. His post-doctoral work, conducted at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center demonstrated how a mutation for the expression of a protein, called beta-catenin, caused mice to grow abnormally large brains. His doctorate work, conducted at Stanford University, investigated asymmetric divisions in mammalian neurogenesis and their implications for directing cell number growth. Chenn is currently an associate professor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. Chenn was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and grew up in Marion, Ohio.

The finalists are:

    Liqun Luo, for his essay, "From Single Neuron to Neural Circuits," reporting research conducted while at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University, did a post-doctoral study at University of California-San Francisco, and now works at Stanford University.

    Lisa Stowers, for her essay, "How Mice Detect and Respond to Pheromones," based on work while at Harvard University. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and is currently an assistant professor at Scripps Research Institute.

    Thomas Thannickal, for his essay, "Human Narcolepsy as a Neurodegenerative Puzzle," describing postdoctoral research at the Sepulveda VA Medical Center and University of California-Los Angeles. He received his Ph.D. at the Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India.

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