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Karel Svoboda, Group Leader, Janelia Research Campus at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, received the 2017 Pradel Research Award

A pioneer in the field of neurobiology, Svoboda developed technologies for visualizing both cellular and synaptic structure and activity in the brain. He used these imaging methods to obtain insight into how the brain represents and stores information about sensory stimuli and transforms that information through motivated behavior into action.

Svoboda was the first researcher to employ high-resolution two-photon microscopy to study the tiny synapses and dendrites function in the intact brain, providing key insight into how synapses work while also setting the standard for the use of this imaging technology. He expanded on this work by developing techniques to image biochemical signals inside of neurons, revealing how synaptic input causes changes in synaptic strength during learning.

Later, Svoboda turned his attention to how the brain’s sensory cortex responds to stimuli, and how that stimulation produces learning and behavior. His work also identified the anterolateral motor cortex, the portion of the brain related to the relationship between stimulus and movement for a reward, providing insights into how the brain holds information in short-term memory and makes decisions.

More recently, Svoboda has continued to implement new microscopic methods applied to the brain, allowing multiple portions of the brain to be imaged at the same time, providing further insight into neuronal activity and behavior.

The Pradel Research Award is presented annually to recognize mid-career neuroscientists whose work is making major contributions to our understanding of the nervous system. The recipient is presented with a $50,000 research award to an institution of his choice to support neuroscience research.


Watch Svoboda's Acceptance Speech »

2017 Neuroscience, Psychology, and Criminology Press Release »

Pradel Research Award »

2017 NAS Award Recipients »

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