Liqun Luo wins award from National Academy of Sciences

The Stanford neuroscientist will receive the 2019 Pradel Research Award for his research into neural circuits of invertebrates and vertebrates.

Liqun Luo

Neuroscientist Liqun Luo, PhD, has been honored with an award from the National Academy of Sciences for his pioneering biology research.

He will receive the 2019 Pradel Research Award for his research into neural circuits of invertebrates and vertebrates. The annual $50,000 award recognizes mid-career neuroscientists who are making major contributions to our understanding of the nervous system.

“I’m glad it’s a mid-career award because it means I have another half to go,” said Luo, the Ann and Bill Swindells Professor and a professor of biology.

Luo’s research focuses on how neurons find their partners with specificity to form working neural circuits and how those neural circuits function in adults. His work has helped shed light on everything from the cerebellum’s surprising ability to anticipate rewards to how the serotonin system controlling our moods and movements is organized.

His discoveries were often made using techniques for visualizing gene action in neurons that he invented himself and which have become standard in the field. One of his early achievements was the development of mosaic analysis with a repressible cell marker, a technique for labeling isolated mutant cells in otherwise normal fruit flies. It enabled his team to study individual neurons and make fundamental breakthroughs about the fly’s brain development. He later used the technique and other inventions to map the wiring of complex neuromodulatory systems in mice.

Luo will be presented with the award April 28 during a ceremony at the annual NAS meeting in Washington, D.C.



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