Foundation’s 2013 Goldman-Rakic Prizewinner Honored with Prestigious Dickson Prize in Science

Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D., expert on depression research and CLARITY and optogenetics
Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D.

Today, 2013 Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Goldman-Rakic Prizewinner for Outstanding Achievement in Cognitive Neuroscience, Karl Deisseroth, M.D., Ph.D., also a Foundation Scientific Council Member and former NARSAD Grantee, will receive the Dickson Prize in Science from Carnegie Mellon University. The Dickson Prize in Science was established in 1969 and is awarded annually to the person who has been judged by Carnegie Mellon University to have made the most progress in the scientific field in the United States for the year in question.

Dr. Deisseroth is being recognized for his work in developing new technologies that are revolutionizing the field of neuroscience with their capacity to advance understanding of brain structure and function, in both healthy and diseased states. He is best known for his work developing what he has named “optogenetics,” a technique that gives scientists the ability to switch individually targeted brain cells on and off, one at a time, using colored beams of laser light and observe the corresponding effects on behavior. Now in use at thousands of laboratories around the world, this new method is enabling the identification of the mechanisms that give rise to depression, anxiety, autism, schizophrenia and other brain and behavior disorders. Dr. Deisseroth, the D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, received early NARSAD Grant support for this work in 2005.

Watch Dr. Deisseroth’s 2013 Goldman-Rakic Prizewinner Video:

In more recent work, Dr. Deisseroth and his research team have developed a 3-D imaging technique called CLARITY that allows for a virtually transparent view of the inner workings of the brain. For the first time, CLARITY makes it possible for scientists to simultaneously look at “the big picture” of brain structure and the fine details of the brain’s complex fine wiring and essential features underpinning brain function. The technology is expected to rapidly advance what is known about how the brain works, in health and disease.

Dr. Deisseroth presented at the 2013 Brain & Behavior Research Foundation New York Mental Health Research Symposium. Watch his lecture here.

Learn more about Dr. Deisseroth and this award in the press release issued by Carnegie Mellon University.