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Society for Neuroscience announces achievement awards

Society for Neuroscience

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will honor the winners of major achievement awards during Neuroscience 2015, SfN's annual meeting and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

"On behalf of SfN, I am pleased to honor this group of excellent neuroscientists with these achievement awards," SfN President Steven Hyman said. "These researchers have dedicated themselves to training, supporting, and guiding our future leaders -- a duty that is critical to the success of the field of neuroscience. And they have all demonstrated a passion for supporting women in science."

Bernice Grafstein Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Mentoring: Julio Ramirez

The Bernice Grafstein Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Mentoring recognizes individuals dedicated to promoting women's advancement in neuroscience, specifically by mentoring women to facilitate their entry into and retention in the field. This award is supported by Bernice Grafstein, PhD, who was the first female president of SfN. The award, established in 2009, includes complimentary registration and transportation to SfN's annual meeting, along with a $2,000 prize.

Julio Ramirez, PhD, a professor of psychology at Davidson College in North Carolina, will receive this year's award. Over the past 30 years, Ramirez has transformed the small liberal arts undergraduate college into a nationally recognized institution for mentoring science students -- particularly women and underrepresented minorities. Ramirez has mentored 135 students; of those, 54 women are enrolled in or have completed doctoral programs in biomedical health or science. Ramirez is known for immersing his students in the experience of biomedical research and for providing meaningful, hands-on guidance at each step of the way. He champions "the three C's" in mentoring his students: critical thinking, creativity and compassion.

Patricia Goldman-Rakic Hall of Honor: Allison J. Doupe

The Patricia Goldman-Rakic Hall of Honor is a posthumous award for a neuroscientist who pursued career excellence and exhibited dedication to the advancement of women in neuroscience. The family of the deceased honoree receives an engraved Tiffany & Co. crystal bowl.

Allison Doupe made seminal contributions to the field of systems neuroscience and was a revered role model for female scientists. Doupe earned her MD and her PhD in neurobiology at Harvard University, and she spent her career as a professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Doupe expanded the study of birdsong learning in zebra finches from its roots in ethology to a model system for neurobiology. Specifically, her work revealed details about how young birds learn and refine their song from male tutors during a critical learning period, and about the role of circuitry between the cortex and the basal ganglia in sensorimotor learning.

Doupe, a native of Montreal, was also a compassionate psychiatrist who served as assistant director of the Women's Mood and Hormone Clinic at UCSF. She is remembered warmly by her many trainees and colleagues throughout the field of neuroscience. Doupe passed away on Oct. 24, 2014, after a long battle with breast cancer. She is survived by her husband, neuroscientist Michael Brainard, PhD, and their twin 10-year-old sons.

Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award: Debra Bangasser and Mingshan Xue

Supported by the Trubatch family, the Career Development Award recognizes two recipients each year for originality and creativity in neuroscience research conducted by early-career professionals. The award includes complimentary SfN annual meeting registration and a $2,000 prize.

Debra Bangasser, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Temple University, has already made valuable contributions to researchers' understanding of sex differences in stress. As a graduate student at Rutgers University, Bangasser identified the role of different brain regions in mediating the effects of stress on learning. Later, she discovered novel sex differences in molecules involved in stress signaling. In addition to these scientific accomplishments, Bangasser has proved herself as an exemplary collaborator, mentor, and science advocate at Temple.

Mingshan Xue, PhD, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine, has made important contributions to the study of cortical circuits. As a graduate student at Fudan University, Xue demonstrated that a protein that regulates neurotransmitter release performs opposite functions in mammals and the Drosophila fly model, highlighting the importance of species differences. Xue's research also elucidated how this and other proteins are able to control neurotransmitter release. His current research focuses on the balance of excitatory and inhibitory signaling in the cortex, and how this balance is disrupted in neurological disorders like autism spectrum disorder and epilepsy.

Louise Hanson Marshall Special Recognition Award: Janice Naegele and Paul Greengard

The Louise Hanson Marshall Special Recognition Award honors individuals who have significantly promoted the professional development of women in neuroscience through teaching, organizational leadership, public advocacy, and more. The award includes complimentary SfN annual meeting registration.

Janice Naegele, PhD, is professor of biology, neuroscience and behavior at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Naegele began her career studying the characteristics of cortical neurons and more recently has performed pioneering studies of transplantation of inhibitory neurons in the brain as a potential treatment for severe epilepsy. She has also been an avid communicator and advocate for the study and treatment of epilepsy. As director of the Center for Faculty Career Development at Wesleyan, Naegele has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about and reduce bias against women in academia.

Paul Greengard, PhD, is the Vincent Astor professor at The Rockefeller University in New York and formerly a professor at Yale University. He has trained more than 200 students and postdoctoral fellows over his illustrious career and has been an outspoken promoter of women in science. His scientific achievement and his dedication to supporting female scientists is evidenced by his 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and by his use of the monetary prize to create the Pearl Meister Greengard Prize at Rockefeller, in honor of his mother. The annual prize, which includes a $100,000 honorarium, recognizes outstanding achievements by female scientists.


The Society for Neuroscience is an organization of nearly 40,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.

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