Six eminent scientists share the world’s largest brain research prize

Karl Deisseroth among the prize winners

March 11, 2013

The Brain Prize – Denmark’s 1 million euro brain research prize – is awarded to six leading scientists for the development of ‘optogenetics’, a revolutionary technique that advances our understanding of the brain and its disorders.

The names of the prize winners, Austrian Gero Miesenböck, Germans Ernst Bamberg, Peter Hegemann, and Georg Nagel, and Americans Ed Boyden and Karl Deisseroth, were announced on Monday 11 March 2013 in Copenhagen.

Together these scientists laid the foundations for a revolutionary technique – optogenetics – which will provide us with entirely new, fundamental knowledge of the complicated functions of the brain.

Optogenetics makes it easier to investigate diseases of the brain such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, pain disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD and addiction. It will play a significant role in the understanding of these disorders and, over time, in the development of a treatment for them.

Read the press release at the Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation »

Probing the roots of mental illness & addiction: U-M researchers win national award

Huda Akil and Stanley Watson receive Institute of Medicine’s Sarnat Prize

October 15, 2012

A pair of University of Michigan mental health researchers who are partners in both research and life have won a prestigious national prize for their studies on the biological roots of emotions, mental illness and substance abuse.

Huda Akil, Ph.D., and Stanley J. Watson, M.D., Ph.D., who co-direct the U-M Medical School’s Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute (MBNI), were awarded the 2012 Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health today by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The prize, which consists of a medal and $20,000, was presented at the IOM’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Read the full article at UofMHealth.org »

Huda Akil and Stanley Watson Receive Institute of Medicine’s 2012 Sarnat Prize For Their Research on Underpinnings of Mental Illness, Addiction

October 15, 2012

The Institute of Medicine today awarded the 2012 Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health to Huda Akil and Stanley J. Watson, co-directors of the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in recognition of their individual and collaborative efforts to elucidate the neural underpinnings of emotions, mental illnesses, and substance abuse. Akil’s and Watson’s work has revealed key aspects of the molecules and neurobiological circuitry behind pain and stress and substantially expanded understanding of mood disorders, addiction, and other conditions, pointing the way to new targets for treatment and prevention. In addition, they have developed research tools and models that have been widely adopted in the neuroscience field. The Sarnat Prize, which consists of a medal and $20,000, was presented to the pair at IOM’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Read the full press release at NationalAcademies.org »

UCI psychiatrist wins prestigious CINP award for mood disorders work

May 29, 2012

The Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum is honoring Dr. William Bunney with its prestigious Pioneers in Psychopharmacology Award, bestowed annually upon three individuals who’ve made globally recognized contributions to the field’s growth. Bunney, a Distinguished Professor of psychiatry & human behavior at UCI’s School of Medicine, has furthered the understanding of mood disorders. His early research helped establish lithium’s effectiveness in treating bipolar disorder, and his efforts led to official approval of the drug for the condition.

Read the full article at the UCI website »