The 2018 Edward M. Scolnick Prize in Neuroscience has been awarded to Caltech's David Anderson, Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience Leadership Chair, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, and director of the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience. The Scolnick Prize is awarded annually by the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT to recognize outstanding advances in the field of neuroscience.
The award citation recognized Anderson for his contributions to the isolation and characterization of neural stem cells and for his research on neural circuits that control emotional behaviors in animal models.
Anderson seeks to understand the neurobiology of emotion. His work has identified specific populations of neurons in key regions of the mouse brain that control emotional behaviors such as aggression and defense. Additionally, he and his team discovered similar mechanisms operating in the brains of fruit flies, suggesting that analogous processes function in different organisms.
Anderson received his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his doctorate from The Rockefeller University. He arrived at Caltech in 1986. In 2007, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Previous winners of the prize include Caltech faculty member Mark Konishi, Bing Professor of Behavioral Biology, Emeritus.