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Kavli Prize awarded to Pasko Rakic, pioneering Yale neuroscientist
Date:5/28/2008

rtical neurons move to the proper location within the cerebral cortex, said Robert Alpern, Dean of the Yale School of Medicine. He is an outstanding scientist who has not only made significant contributions himself, but has developed an exceptional department of neurobiology here at Yale.

Early in his career, Rakic discovered that previously enigmatic support cells, known as radial glia, serve as guides for the migration of cortical neurons in the developing brain, and showed how this process is critical for the organization of the multi-layered structure of the cerebral cortex. His radial unit hypothesis set the stage for our current view of the evolutionary steps involved in constructing ever more complex and sophisticated vertebrate brains.

Rakic also introduced the influential idea that different regions of the cerebral cortex acquire many of their specialized anatomical and functional properties through genetic programs intrinsic to the cortex itself. His early studies have, in large part, led to the current emphasis on and interest in mechanisms of cortical development.

With the citation for discoveries on the developmental and functional logic of neuronal circuits, Rakic shares the Kavli Prize for neuroscience with Thomas Jessell of Columbia University and Sten Grillner of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Jessells ressearch revealed the chemical signals that drive early progenitor cells into the complex assembly that makes up neuronal circuits, and Grillner showed how neural circuits in mammalian spinal cords generate motor commands for rhythmic movements such as locomotion.

Together Rakic, Jessell and Grillner have managed to decipher the mechanisms that govern the formation and functioning of the complex networks of the neural system to a level of understanding never previously achieved, said Jon Storm-Mathisen, professor of anatomy at the University o
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Contact: Janet Rettig Emanuel
janet.emanuel@yale.edu
203-432-2157
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert  

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Kavli Prize awarded to Pasko Rakic, pioneering Yale neuroscientist
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