Professor wins prestigious $100,000 prize from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, a Congress-created charity.
February 17, 2015
The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health has awarded Karl Deisseroth, MD, PhD, professor of bioengineering and of psychiatry and behavioral science, its third annual Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences. The $100,000 prize will be presented to Deisseroth in a May 20 ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Deisseroth, the D.H. Chen Professor at Stanford and a practicing psychiatrist, is being honored for two towering contributions to the field of neuroscience. He pioneered the field of optogenetics, which combines genetic manipulation and optics to activate or deactivate precisely targeted brain cells at the flick of a switch. This allows for the precise pinpointing of brain circuitry and the delineation of mechanisms involved in normal behavior, as well as in diseases like Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and depression.
In addition, Deisseroth’s team also developed CLARITY, a chemical engineering method for rendering biological tissues, such as the brain, both optically transparent and accessible to molecular probes, enabling scientists to observe intricate, molecular-resolution details within intact brains.
Deisseroth is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, Stanford Bio-X and the Stanford Neurosciences Institute. He is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and a working-group member of the NIH BRAIN Initiative, a program announced by President Barack Obama to deepen science’s understanding of the human brain.
The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health is a charity established by Congress in 1990. Endowed by philanthropist and foundation board member Ann Lurie, the Lurie Prize recognizes outstanding achievement by a promising scientist age 52 or younger.
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