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Pioneer in neural development honored with the Mortimer D. Sackler, M.D. Prize
Date:2/19/2013

rodevelopmental disorders, she has been a world-class leader in integrating a multitude of disciplines necessary for understanding the complexities of the human brain. This interdisciplinary approach to bridging disparate scientific viewswith unusual harmonyis a philosophy shared across the Sackler Institutes, as part of Dr. Sackler's vision," said B.J. Casey, PhD, director of the Sackler Institute and the Sackler Professor of Developmental Psychobiology at Weill Cornell Medical College.

The Sackler Prize is selected by a committee of 15, including faculty from each of the six Sackler Institutes, programs, and centers: Weill Cornell Medical College; Columbia University Medical Center; Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow; University of Sussex; King's College London; and McGill University. Dr. Shatz will hold grand rounds at Columbia and Weill Cornell at the end of February and the beginning of March.

Dr. Shatz said, "I am thrilled and honored to receive this wonderful recognition from the Sackler Institutes in the name of this distinguished family. Understanding fundamental mechanisms of brain development and the dynamic interplay between nature and nurture are essential for treating, and someday curing, neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia."

Asked about the most unexpected insight from her own work, she said, "Discovering that nerve cells in the baby's brain spontaneously send signals from the eye to the brain's visual centers long before vision. It is as if the brain is running test patterns and rehearsing for vision long before birth, and we know that this rehearsal is a key part of brain-circuit tuning during development."

Dr. Shatz is director of Bio-X, Stanford University's pioneering interdisciplinary biosciences program that brings together faculty from across the entire universityclinicians, biologists, engineers, physicists, and computer scientiststo unlock the secrets of the human body in health
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Contact: Karin Eskenazi
ket2116@columbia.edu
212-342-0508
Columbia University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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