08:23 uur 30-07-2015

The 26th Neuronal Plasticity Prize of the Fondation Ipsen has been awarded to

Mark F. Bear (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA)
David J. Porteous (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK) and
Thomas Bourgeron (Institut Pasteur – CNRS, Paris, France)

PARIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The 26 th Neuronal Plasticity Prize of the Fondation Ipsen has been awarded to three scientists for their pioneering work in the domain of genes, synapses and psychiatric disorders: Mark F. Bear (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA), David J. Porteous (University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK) and Thomas Bourgeron (Institut Pasteur – CNRS, Paris, France). The prize has been awarded on July 8 th, 2015 at the IBRO World Congress (International Brain Research Organisation) in Rio de Janeiro by an international jury led by Nikos Logothetis ( Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany).

About the laureates

Mark F. Bear is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Picower Professor of Neuroscience in The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Bear served as Director of The Picower Institute from 2007 to 2009. Prior to moving to MIT in 2003, Dr. Bear was on the faculty of Brown University School of Medicine for 17 years. After receiving his B.S. degree from Duke University, he earned his Ph.D. degree in neurobiology at Brown. He took postdoctoral training from Wolf Singer at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany, and from Leon Cooper at Brown. Bear’s laboratory has substantially advanced knowledge of how cerebral cortex is modified by experience. He made fundamental discoveries on bidirectional synaptic plasticity, metaplasticity, the molecular basis of amblyopia (a cause of visual disability in children), and the pathophysiology of fragile X syndrome (the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability and autism). He has been at the forefront of the efforts to translate knowledge of autism pathophysiology into new treatments.

David J. Porteous is Chair of Human Molecular Genetics and Medicine at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (www. igmm.ed.ac.uk ), Edinburgh, a world ‘top 20’ University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh), the Academy of Medical Sciences and EMBO. In 2013, he was awarded the OBE for contributions to science by the Queen. For over 20 years, he has used genetics and genomics to identify genes that determine the risk of developing mental illness, most notably the discovery of the DISC1 gene in 2000. This work established a new paradigm in psychiatric genetics of ‘one gene, several disorders’ and is now recognized as one of the most informative findings in the field (Science Magazine Breakthrough of the Year, 2005). In 2003, he established Generation Scotland, a cohort of 24,000 participants in 7,000 family groups who have been examined for a wide range of medically relevant traits, including personality, mood and mental health. He is now investigating the genetic and environment factors that determine risk and resilience to major depression disorder as a first step towards predictive and precision medicine.

Thomas Bourgeron has started his research career investigating mitochondria first in plant and then in neurological diseases, he moved to the Institut Pasteur in Paris to pursue his interests in the genetics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In 2003, his group published the first mutations associated with ASD linking genes and synapses to this complex condition. In 2008, he became Professor at the University Paris Diderot and Director of the Unit on Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions in the Neuroscience Department of the Institut Pasteur. In 2014 he has been elected at the French Académie des Sciences. His group includes geneticists, neurobiologists and clinicians to study the genetic susceptibility to ASD. Their present research is focused on the genetic architecture of ASD. They are combining whole genome sequencing technologies with original phenotyping approaches using brain imaging, biochemistry, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) as well as clinical evaluations of the patients. This multidisciplinary group aims to provide knowledge-based discoveries for a better diagnostic, care and integration of individuals with ASD.

About the Neuronal Plasticity Prize

Founded in 1990, the Neuronal Plasticity Prize of La Fondation Ipsen has been awarded to renowned specialists: Albert Aguayo (Montréal, 1990), Anders Björklund (Lund, 1990), Fred Gage (La Jolla, 1990), Ursula Bellugi (La Jolla, 1991), Wolf Singer (Frankfurt, 1990), Torsten Wiesel (New York, 1991), Philippe Ascher (Paris, 1992), Kjell Fuxe (Stockholm, 1992), Terje Lomo (Oslo, 1992), Per Andersen (Oslo, 1993), Masao Ito (Wako Saitama, 1993), Constantino Sotelo (Paris, 1993), Mariano Barbacid (Princeton, 1994), Yves Barde (Planegg-Martinsried, 1994), Hans Thoenen (Planegg-Martinsried, 1994), Jacques Mehler (Paris, 1995), Brenda Milner (Montreal, 1995), Mortimer Mishkin (Bethesda, 1995), Friedrich Bonhoeffer (Tubingen, 1996), Corey Goodman (Berkeley, 1996), Marc Tessier-Lavigne (San Francisco, 1996), Antonio Damasio (Iowa City, 1997), Richard Frackowiac (London, 1997), Michael Merzenich (San Francisco, 1997), Heinrich Betz (Frankfurt, 1998), Gerald Fischbach (Boston, 1998), Uel McMahan (Stanford, 1998), Masakazu Konishi (Pasadena, 1999), Peter Marler (Davis, 1999),Fernando Nottebohm (Millbrook, 1999), Tomas Hökfelt (Stockholm, 2000), Lars Olson (Stockholm, 2000), Lars Terenius (Stockholm, 2000), Albert Galaburda (Boston, 2001), John Morton (Londres, 2001), Elisabeth Spelke (Cambridge, USA, 2001), Arturo Alvarez-Buylla (San Francisco, 2002), Ronald Mc Kay (Bethesda, 2002), Sam Weiss (Calgary, 2002), François Clarac (Marseille, 2003), Sven Grillner (Stockholm, 2003), Serge Rossignol (Montréal, 2003), James Gusella (Boston, 2004), Jean-Louis Mandel (Strasbourg, 2004), Huda Y. Zoghbi(Houston, 2004), Ann Graybiel (Cambridge, USA, 2005), Trevor Robbins (Cambridge, UK, 2005), Wolfram Schultz (Cambridge, UK, 2005, Eckhart D. Gundelfinger (Magdeburg, 2006), Mary B. Kennedy (Pasadena, 2006), Morgan Sheng ( Cambridge, USA, 2006), Nikos K. Logothetis ( Tübingen, 2007), Keiji Tanaka (Wako, 2007), Giacomo Rizzolati (Parma, 2007), Jean-Pierre Changeux (Paris, 2008), Peter W. Kalivas (Charleston 2008), Eric J. Nestler (Dallas, 2008), Alim-Louis Benabid (Grenoble, 2009), Apostolos P. Georgopoulos (Minneapolis, 2009) , Miguel A. L. Nicolelis (Durham, 2009), Thomas Insel (Bethesda, 2010), Bruce Mc Ewen (New York, 2010), Donald Pfaff (New York, 2010), Helen Neville (Eugene, 2011), Isabelle Peretz(Montreal, 2011), Robert Zatorre (Montreal, 2011), Catherine Dulac (Boston, 2012), Richard G. Morris (Edinburgh, 2012), J. David Sweatt (Birmingham, 2012), Tim V.P. Bliss (London, 2013), Richard G. M. Morris (Edinburgh, 2013), Yadin Dudai (Rehovot, 2013), Barry J. Everitt (Cambridge, UK, 2014), George F. Koob (La Jolla, 2014) and Michel Le Moal (Bordeaux, 2014).

The jury: Nikos Logothetis (Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany) President, Alim-Louis Benabid (CEA, CHU de Grenoble, Inserm, Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France), Joël Bockaert (CNRS UMR 5203, Montpellier, France), Alexis Brice (CRICM UMRS 975 – Hôpital de la Pitié Salpêtrière , Paris, France), Yves Christen (Fondation IPSEN, Paris, France), Stanislas Dehaene (Centre NeuroSpin, CEA/SAC/DSV/I2BM, Gif-sur-Yvette, France), Kjell Fuxe (Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden), Fred Gage (Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, USA), Ann Graybiel (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA), Wolf Singer (Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany).

About the Fondation Ipsen

Established in 1983 under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the mission of the Fondation Ipsen is to contribute to the development and dissemination of scientific knowledge. The long-standing action of the Fondation Ipsen aims at fostering the interaction between researchers and clinical practitioners, which is indispensable due to the extreme specialization of these professions. The ambition of the Fondation Ipsen is to initiate a reflection about the major scientific issues of the forthcoming years. It has developed an important international network of scientific experts who meet regularly at meetings known as Colloques Médecine et Recherche, dedicated to six main themes: Alzheimer’s disease, neurosciences, longevity, endocrinology, the vascular system and cancer science. Moreover the Fondation Ipsen has started since 2007 several meetings in partnership with the Salk Institute, the Karolinska Institutet, the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Days of Molecular Medicine Global Foundation as well as with the science journals Nature, Cell and Science. The Fondation Ipsen produced several hundred publications; more than 250 scientists and biomedical researchers have been awarded prizes and research grants.


Isabelle de Segonzac, Image Sept
E-mail : isegonzac@image7.fr
Tel. : +33 (0)1 53 70 74 70


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