Professor Gyorgy Buzsaki Is Co-Winner of Major European “Brain Prize”
Buzsaki shares prize of one million Euros with two other neuroscientists from his native Hungary
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Rutgers Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience, Dr. Gyorgy Buzsaki, has received the Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation’s award, “The Brain Prize,” along with two other Hungarian scientists, Tamas Freund and Peter Somogyi. The prize winners were announced on March 3 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The award was given to the three scientists for “their wide-ranging, technically and conceptually brilliant research on the functional organization of neuronal circuits in the cerebral cortex, especially in the hippocampus, a region that is crucial for certain forms of memory.”
According to the Foundation’s press release, “although the work of the three researchers has been aimed at fundamental understanding of brain function, it is illuminating the causes and symptoms of a variety of clinical conditions, from epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease to anxiety and dementia. It has set the gold standard for correlating structure and function, from molecules to behaviour.”
Professor Colin Blakemore, Oxford University, who was chair of the selection committee for the award, said “In order to know how the brain processes information we need a complete description of the structure of nerve cells and the dynamic characteristics of the connections between them. The work of Somogyi, Freund and Buzsaki has provided much of this essential knowledge for the cerebral cortex. Without such painstaking research there will never be full understanding of the brain.”
The foundation’s announcement notes that Somogyi, Freund and Buzsaki, all native Hungarians, symbolize the “remarkable quality of Hungarian science, which was sustained through periods of challenge and hardship. They have worked together at Budapest, Oxford and Rutgers University (Newark, N.J.), and had great influence on each other reflected in many joint publications. ”
Buzsaki, a resident of Millburn, N.J., joined the faculty of the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers University, Newark, in 1990. He received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Academy of Sciences in Budapest, and an M.D. at the University of Pecs, Hungary. Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty he was associated with the University of California San Diego.
Prior to winning the 2011 “Brain Prize,” Buzsaki was the recipient of other awards for his research, including being named ISIHighlyCited (top 250 most cited neuroscientist) in 2004; a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2004; the Krieg Cortical Discover Award in 2001, and Collége de France Distinguished Professor in 1998. He was presented with the Pierre Gloor Award from the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society in 1997, is an honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and sits on the editorial boards of several leading neuroscience journals.
Buzsaki’s numerous peer-reviewed papers have been published in leading journals such as Science and Nature.
Photos courtesy of Buzsaki labs