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04/07/2016 - Distinguished KIBM Neuroscientist Wins Thon Prize

(Originally published by the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind)

March 31, 2016

Jean-Pierre ChangeuxJean-Pierre Changeux receives the Thon Prize in honor of his pioneering work in the fields of molecular biology and brain research.

Jean-Pierre Changeux, an eminent neuroscientist from France and a distinguished international faculty member at UC San Diego’s Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, has been awarded the prestigious Thon Prize, given by Norway’s Olav Thon Foundation.

Changeux, a professor at the Institut Pasteur in Paris who spends January through March every year conducting research at KIBM, received the Thon Prize’s international research award, equivalent to $500,000 U.S. dollars, “for his pioneering work in the fields of molecular biology and brain research.”

“Changeux is one of very few living researchers who has been able to leave his mark on several branches of science,” according to his citation. “Many of the concepts that drive modern science forward can be traced back to Changeux and his original discoveries.”

The prize committee said he “has linked a deep understanding of molecules and their regulation to new insight into the function and diseases of the brain. This insight has already led to new approaches to the treatment of neurological disorders and will continue to inspire scientists for decades to come.”

“Changeux’s research findings are central to our understanding of the formation of synapses and the plasticity of the synapses over time and during the ageing process, but also of cultural learning (such as reading and writing) and mental disorders. At the same time, the findings shed new light on crucial factors associated with child development and education.

On the basis of Changeux’s research, clinical tests are now underway with nicotine-based drugs for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, schizophrenia, ADHD, pain and tobacco addiction. 

Since the mid-1990s, Changeux (in collaboration with Stanislas Dehaene) has used computational modelling to understand the neurobiological basis of cognitive functions. This work has inspired new research on the effects of general anesthetics and drug addiction.”

More information on the award at: http://www.uio.no/english/about/news-and-events/news/2016/the-olav-thon-foundation.html 

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