"Dr. Nottebohm was selected from a field of 19 stellar nominees. His innovative research sets a very high bar for future awardees, establishing this prize as one of the most prestigious of its kind," says Dr. Myron Hofer, director of the Columbia Sackler Institute and the Sackler Institute Professor of Developmental Psychobiology at Columbia University Medical Center and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.
The Sackler Prize is selected by a committee of 15, including faculty from each of the five Sackler Institutes, programs and centers: Weill Cornell Medical College; Columbia University Medical Center; Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow; University of Sussex; and McGill University. Dr. Nottebohm will hold grand rounds at Columbia and Weill Cornell in April of 2011.
"I am humbled to have been chosen for this prestigious honor," says Dr. Nottebohm. "This prize is crucially important for raising the awareness of and support for research in developmental psychobiology. I am pleased too that it recognizes how the study of song learning in birds has contributed to this still young and exciting field," says Dr. Nottebohm, noting that many are surprised, still, by the parallels between vocal learning in birds and human infants.
Asked about the most unexpected insight from his own work, he says that it was "the realization that there are brain cells born in adulthood that live only for a period of weeks or months and then, just as they came, are gone. This sloughing off of cells is not surprising when it occurs in our skin, or liver, or the lining of the gut, but we were not prepared to encounter it in the brain. This was new, and it was new, too, that even as some of cells were culled, others were added. The very thought that some circuits might be able to rejuvenate themselves in this manner was preposterous. Yet in the songbirds it ha
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New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College