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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Marder wins award

Published: December 2, 2005
Section: News

Professor Eve Marder (BIOL) has been awarded the Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience for outstanding work in the field of neuroscience.

The highly prestigious prize is awarded annually by the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), a nonprofit organization of 37,000 members. It is the worlds largest organization of scientists devoted to the study of the brain, according to the SfN website.

Its a very great honor, Marder told The Hoot. Citing the prestige of being granted such a top honor by the SfN, Marder says, its really wonderful to get it. Marder won the award with another researcher, Sten Grillner, a scientist in Sweden who works with motor systems.

Marders work has involved studying the nervous systems of lobsters and crabs. She investigates the interactions [which] give rise to rhythmic motor behaviors such as breathing and walking. According to her Brandeis homepage, lobsters and crabs have unique qualities that make them ideal for her research.
Marder is interested in howneuromodulators and neuromodulatory neurons reconfigure circuits so that the same group of neurons can produce a variety of behaviorally relevant outputs according to the website of the Marder Lab. Also of interest is the stability of the networks over long periods of time.

A previous winner of this award was world-renowned neurobiologist W. Maxwell Cowan, a former president of SfN, and currently the Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, according to the SfN website. He is best known for the discovery that nerve cells die and many pathways are reorganized by the elimination of particular branches of axons. He won the award in 2001.

Other neuroscientists who have received this honor are husband and wife Pasko Rakic and Patricia Goldman-Rakic, who won the award jointly in 2002. They are neurobiologists at Yale.

Marder finds herself in very good company, as 11 previous winners of this award have also won the Nobel Prize.

The prize is named for Ralph W. Gerard, who was, according to the SfN website, instrumental in the founding of the society as well as a former president of the American Physiological Society.