The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will present its highest honor, the Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience, to György Buzsáki, PhD. The award, which includes a $30,000 prize, honors outstanding scientists who have made significant contributions to neuroscience throughout their careers. The Gerard Prize is named for Ralph W. Gerard, a revered neuroscientist who was instrumental in establishing SfN and served as its honorary president from 1970 to 1974. The award will be presented during SfN’s Awards Announcement Week 2020.
“It is an honor to present Dr. Buzsáki with the 2020 Gerard Prize,” SfN President Barry Everitt, PhD said. “His work on brain rhythms and neuronal coding is groundbreaking and has shaped our current understanding of information processing in the brain.”
Many concepts in modern neuroscience can be traced back to Buzsáki, who is the Biggs professor of neuroscience at the New York University School of Medicine. Buzsáki’s work has contributed to the emerging understanding of the dynamics of hippocampal systems and the recognition of the importance of temporal firing properties in the formation of neural codes. As a young scientist in the early 1980s, he introduced the concept of feedforward inhibition, which is now a widely recognized property of neural circuits. Buzsáki went on to develop the two-stage model of memory formation in the hippocampus, which is still the dominant model for consolidation of hippocampal memory. More recently, he has developed a conceptual framework to understand the fundamental synaptic mechanisms underlying brain rhythms, including theta, gamma, and sharp-wave ripple oscillations. Throughout his career, Buzsáki has been a strong advocate for studying the intact brain in its natural state, a view that has been widely adopted and transformed the way neuroscience is done today. His characteristic research style combines mathematical modeling with skilled multidisciplinary experimental design that includes electrophysiology, morphology, optogenetics, and behavioral analysis in the awake rodent. Buzsáki is known as an innovative and generous inventor of new technologies to probe brain activity and is at the forefront of the development of an open-access framework for organizing and interpreting large-scale data sets.