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Eve Marder, scientific advisor for NCBS, wins the 2016 Kavli Prize for Neuroscience

The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) congratulates its scientific board member, Eve Marder, on being one of the recipients of the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience for 2016.

The Kavli prizes are awarded every 2 years to scientists whose work contribute significantly to the fields of Astrophysics, Nanoscience and Neuroscience. The Prize is a partnership between The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Kavli Foundation (U.S.A.), and The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. First awarded in 2008, the Prize is named after Fred Kavli, a Norwegian-born U.S.A. philanthropist and founder of The Kavli Foundation.

This year, the Kavli Prize for neuroscience has been awarded to Eve Marder, Michael M. Merzenich, and Carla J. Shatz "for the discovery of mechanisms that allow experience and neural activity to remodel brain function." A central question in neuroscience relates to the mechanisms by which brains remain structurally stable to produce reliable behaviour, while also allowing for changes during learning and development.The work of all three scientists show that experience or intrinsic brain function generates neuronal activity that dynamically shapes the structural and functional connections between nerve cells. Simultaneously, self-regulating mechanisms also drive neurons to produce regular patterns of activity to provide the essential stability that underlies reliable behaviour patterns.

Eve Marder's work on the simple neuronal circuits of crustaceans showed that the output of an adult neuron can be reconfigured by neuromodulators without changes to underlying anatomy. She also found that different circuit configurations of intrinsic neuronal excitability and synaptic strength can generate similar neuronal and network outputs. The apparent paradox in this system was solved by her discovery of a self-regulating homeostatic program in neurons that pushes them towards a stable target activity level.

"Eve has a way of identifying non-consensus problems, problems that are not currently the hot topic. She comes up with novel insights and more questions that makes them hot topics. The whole field of homeostatic plasticity is one such. Eve can do this because she has one of the sharpest minds around. But what I find truly remarkable and inspirational about her is the way she cares for nurturing young scientists. She is generous with her time and not just for her own trainees. An image that comes to mind is of Eve sitting on the floor at the Society for Neuroscience meeting engaged in deep conversation with some young scientist from far away, encouraging them. Her passion for ensuring that young talent gets nurtured is evident in the new editorial policies of the journal elife, where she is the Deputy editor. We are fortunate to have such a fine scientist and mentor on our scientific advisory board." - Vatsala Thirumalai, former member of Eve Marder's lab, currently a faculty member at NCBS.

"Eve has been a very valuable member of our scientific advisory board and has always made it a point over the past decade to engage deeply with our colleagues. Her insights about the nature and quality of science at NCBS have been very constructive, providing tangible advice for us to take our science to the next level. The recognition of her work by this prestigious award is no surprise to us. Eve justly deserves the Kavli prize for her pioneering work providing mechanistic insights at the level of both circuits as well as chemical signals that underlie neuronal plasticity as well as for the extraordinary influence she has had in shaping this field of research,"says Satyajit Mayor, the Director of NCBS and inStem.

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