National Academy of Sciences
- About The NAS
- Activities & Programs
- News & Social Media
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 designate to an institution of their choice to support neuroscience research.
Karel Svoboda will receive 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 synapses and dendrites in the intact brain, providing key insight into how synapses work while also setting the standard for 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. Read more about Svoboda's work
Karel Svoboda (2017)
For his pioneering work to develop technologies for imaging cellular and synaptic structure and activity in the brain, and for using these methods to obtain insight into how the brain represents and stores information about sensory stimuli and transforms such information into action during motivated behavior.
Read more about Svoboda's work
Alex L. Kolodkin (2016)
For his pioneering work on neuronal development research relating to the establishment of neuronal connectivity. He is known for his work on neuronal guidance cues and their receptors, the discovery of semaphorins, and unveiling guidance cue roles in neural circuit assembly and function in insects and mammals.
Read more about Kolodkin's work
Catherine G. Dulac (2015)
For her pioneering contributions to the molecular biology of pheromone signaling in mammals and discoveries of neural mechanisms underlying sex-specific social behaviors including mating, aggression and parenting.
Read more about Dulac's work
Allison J. Doupe (2014)
For her groundbreaking work using song birds to reveal important features of how neural circuits process information and are shaped by experience.
Kenneth C. Catania (2013)
Dr. Catania is a pioneering neuroethologist who has carried out highly imaginative investigations of the neural basis of sensory behavior in model organisms. His comparative studies of mammals that possess specialized sensory capacities have led to discoveries of fundamental principles of behavior, sensory processing, and brain organization, and have resulted in new insights about the evolution of the nervous system.
Dora E. Angelaki (2012)
For her fundamental discoveries on mechanisms of representation of vestibular sensory stimuli within the mammalian brain.