PITTSBURGH--Carnegie Mellon University will award the second annual Andrew Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences to Ricardo Dolmetsch, global head of neuroscience at the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research.
The prize, given by the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CNBC) and funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as part of its centennial celebration, recognizes trailblazers in the mind and brain sciences whose research has helped advance the field and its applications. The CNBC will present the award to Dolmetsch at 4 p.m., Thursday, May 22 in CMU's Rashid Auditorium, 4401 Hillman Center.
"Dr. Dolmetsch's research is highly innovative and he has staked out pioneering terrain to help us understand the biochemistry of autism," said Marlene Behrmann, CNBC co-director and the George A. and Helen Dunham Cowan Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at CMU. "In particular, he has begun to identify gene mutations associated with the neurodevelopmental diseases and, furthermore, has gone beyond this to shed light on what the effect of the mutations are on the nervous system. The goal of his work ultimately is to alter the molecular biology of the brain cells to make them function more normally and this is a very exciting research program. We are happy to recognize his accomplishments and to award the Carnegie Prize to Dr. Dolmetsch."
At Novartis, Dolmetsch leads the group responsible for leveraging advances in human genetics to model and treat neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. Focal areas include genomics, induced pluripotent stem cells and brain circuitry.
Prior to joining Novartis in August 2013, Dolmetsch was associate professor of neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He studied the molecular roots of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders and the role of calcium channel signaling.
As part of the award ceremony, Dolmetsch will give a presentation on "Insights Into the Brain of a Child With Autism." He will discuss how his research has been able to build models of specific genes associated with the disorder and how his work set the foundation for the development of new therapies to address unmet medical needs.
The CNBC, a joint program between CMU and the University of Pittsburgh, has helped establish Carnegie Mellon and the Pittsburgh scientific community as a world leader in the brain and behavioral sciences.
Carnegie Mellon research on brain-behavior relations also includes a major effort in using brain imaging to understand and treat disorders like autism and dyslexia. To build on its foundation of research excellence in psychology, neuroscience and computational science, CMU launched a Brain and Behavior Initiative to enhance the university's ability to innovate in both the laboratory and in the world.
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