The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill has named Roger Tsien, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego (UCSD) professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry, the recipient of the fifth annual Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize.
The prize carries a $10,000 award and is given to recognize a seminal achievement in neuroscience. Tsien was recognized for developing molecular indicators that have revolutionized the optical monitoring of neurons. He has developed a wide variety of tools for optically monitoring the structure and function of cells and molecules in the nervous system, including calcium indicator dyes, genetically coded protein biosensors and modifications to green fluorescent protein, GFP. These tools have made it possible for scientists to visualize signaling processes in nerve cells both in cell culture and in the brains of living animals.
Tsien, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, is a member of the Institute of Medicine, which advises the nation on improving health, and the National Academy of Sciences. His laboratory's goal is to gain a better understanding of signaling inside individual living cells, in neuronal networks and in tumors,. His team designs, synthesizes and uses new molecules that detect or manipulate biochemical signals.
Previous recipients of the prize are Dr. David Julius of the University of California at San Francisco; Dr. Roderick MacKinnon of Rockefeller University; co-recipients Dr. Linda Buck of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and Dr. Richard Axel of Columbia University; and, last years recipient, Dr. Yves Barde of the Biocenter at the University of Basel in Switzerland.
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