NEW YORK (April 11, 2011) -- Weill Cornell Medical College and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons have announced that The Mortimer D. Sackler, M.D. Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Developmental Psychobiology has been awarded to The Rockefeller University's Dr. Fernando Nottebohm for his seminal work in songbirds that has led to the discovery of neuronal replacement.
Dr. Nottebohm is currently the Dorothea L. Leonhardt Professor and head of the Laboratory of Animal Behavior at The Rockefeller University, where his work has offered some of the first irrefutable evidence that new nerve cells are constantly born in an adult vertebrate brain. His work with songbirds was also the first to establish an animal model for studying the neurobiology of vocal learning and its relation to the culling and recruiting of brain cells. He showed that brain pathways for vocalization emerge late in development, when many new cells are added as birds learn their song; this process is highly sensitive to hormones and social experience and continues into adulthood. Dr. Nottebohm conducts his studies of canaries, zebra finches and wild songbirds at the Center for Field Research in Ethology and Ecology in Millbrook, N.Y.
"By identifying the birth, migration and differentiation of new brain cells and showing that they are incorporated into the existing circuits of juvenile and adult songbirds and how this relates to ongoing behavior, Dr. Nottebohm has raised new possibilities in how we think about the brain, its development, repair and regeneration," says Dr. B.J. Casey, director of the Sackler Institute and the Sackler Professor of Developmental Psychobiology at Weill Cornell Medical College. "Throughout his productive career, Dr. Nottebohm's creative and collaborative research has been an exemplar of the interdisciplinary approach shared across the Sackler Institutes, helping to build the field of developmental psychobiology, from the stu
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New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College