In 2005, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council Member, Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D. of Stanford University, used his NARSAD Young Investigator Grant to develop the new technology, ‘optogenetics,’ that is revolutionizing the neuroscience field. Optogenetics allows scientists to insert light-sensitive proteins into the brains of mice, selectively activate specific neurons and then observe the corresponding behavior. The technology is now being used by thousands of researchers around the world to identify the mechanisms that give rise to depression, anxiety and other brain and behavior disorders.
For this work, Deisseroth has recently received more accolades from the scientific community in the form of prestigious prizes. On March 11, 2013 he was awarded the Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation Prize, better known as the “The Brain Prize,” with five other scientists for their work on optogenetics. The 1 million euro prize is awarded annually to scientists distinguished for their outstanding contributions to European neuroscience through original and influential advances in brain research. Deisseroth shares the award with Ernst Bamberg, fellow NARSAD Grantee Edward Boyden, Peter Hegemann, Gero Miesenböck and Georg Nagel.
Deisseroth was also awarded the 2013 Lounsbery Prize by the National Academy of Sciences for pioneering optogenetics. The $50,000 prize is given alternately to a young American or French scientist each year in recognition of extraordinary scientific achievement in biology and medicine.
Deisseroth, with Carla Shatz, Ph.D., also received the 25th annual Robert J. and Claire Pasarow Foundation Award, which includes a monetary prize of $20,000.
Read the announcement about the "Brain Prize" from the Stanford School of Medicine