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Scripps Florida scientist awarded prestigious Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award

JUPITER, FL, February 20, 2013 Ron Davis, PhD, chair of the Neuroscience Department on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute, has been selected to receive a prestigious $3.5 million Jacob K. Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award for his work on the complex biology of memory formation and the disorders that disrupt it.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), one agency within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), awards the special merit grant to investigators "who have a history of exceptional talent, imagination and preeminent scientific achievement in the field of neurological science, and who are expected to be exceptionally productive during the tenure of the grant." The initial award is for a period of four years, with a three-year extension upon request. Seven-year grants are unusual within the NIH system.

"I am honored to receive the Javits Award," Davis said. "The award is a continuation of the first grant I received from the NINDS some 30 years ago, so it's very much a personal milestone for me. I am extremely grateful to the NINDS for their support of my research program across these three decades."

"The Javits award gives scientists like Ron Davis, whose work is on the cutting edge, an even greater opportunity to understand the complex interplay involved in the cause and, hopefully, treatment of neurological diseases," said Story Landis, PhD, NINDS director. "His research into memory should play a significant role in the development of those potential treatments."

The new study will focus on an area of memory formation that has remained relatively mysteriousthe role that active forgetting plays in learning and memory. Davis and his colleagues recently showed that dopamine signaling to specific neurons in the brain provides a signal to forget.

"We really know very little about the molecular and cellular biology of active forgetting," Davis said, "but we believe that it has profound importance for understanding a host of disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer's disease, and even some aspects of autism."

The award, which was mandated by an act of Congress in 1983, honors the memory of the late Senator Jacob K. Javits of New York who suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a severe neurological disorder also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Senator Javits was a passionate advocate for research into a variety of disorders of the brain and nervous system. Scientists receiving the award are selected by the Advisory Council for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.


Contact: Eric Sauter
Scripps Research Institute

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