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Vol. LXVII, No. 14
July 3, 2015
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Axelrod Symposium Honors Coyle

“With millions of Twitter accounts, computers and cell phones, we are now very good at the horizontal distribution of information. But the vertical transmission of knowledge has suffered—except in science. Everyone in this symposium is part of the legacy started by Julie Axelrod. In so many ways, the National Institute of Mental Health is really his offspring,” said NIMH director Dr. Thomas Insel, opening the symposium in honor of the NIH intramural biochemist and Nobel laureate whose well-known work on brain chemistry led to current treatments for depression and anxiety disorders and played a key role in the discovery of the pain-relieving properties of acetaminophen. Fittingly, the 7th Julius Axelrod Symposium was held in the John E. Porter Neuroscience Research Center, in the same area where Axelrod’s NIMH office once stood.

NIMH director Dr. Thomas Insel (l) and Dr. Joseph T. Coyle, 2013 SfN Julius Axelrod Prize recipient
NIMH director Dr. Thomas Insel (l) and Dr. Joseph T. Coyle, 2013 SfN Julius Axelrod Prize recipient
Following a brief remembrance by Dr. Solomon Snyder, professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, who was a postdoctoral fellow with Axelrod in his early days at NIH, attendees heard a number of talks on groundbreaking intramural neuroscience research.

Speakers included Dr. Zayd Kaliq of NINDS, NIMH’s Dr. Zheng Li, Dr. Brandon Harvey of NIDA’s optogenetics and transgenic technology core and 2014 NIMH IRP Fellow Axelrod Award recipient Dr. Andrew Emery.

This year’s symposium was held to honor the recipient of the 2013 Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Julius Axelrod Prize, Dr. Joseph T. Coyle of Harvard Medical School. Also a former postdoctoral fellow with Axelrod, Coyle spoke on “Cortical disconnection and the pathophysio-logy of schizophrenia.”

The symposium, typically held at the annual SfN meeting, was delayed due to the federal government shutdown in fall 2013. The prize is awarded by SfN to recognize “exceptional achievements in neuropharmacology or a related field and exemplary efforts in mentoring young scientists.”

SfN president Dr. Larry Swanson praised Coyle as “an outstanding neuroscientist and psychiatrist who has devoted his career to probing the underlying causes of psychiatric disorders and proposing innovative therapeutic interventions…He has demonstrated a life-long commitment to training researchers and clinicians alike.”

The recipient of the 2014 SfN Julius Axelrod Prize was Dr. Susan Amara, scientific director of NIMH’s Intramural Research Program. The 8th Axelrod Symposium will be held at NIH in spring 2016 to honor Amara.—Elizabeth Sherman, Janet Clark

On hand at the Axelrod symposium are (from l) Dr. Zheng Li, unit on synapse development plasticity, NIMH; Dr. Zayd Khaliq, cellular neurophysiology unit, NINDS; Dr. Brandon Harvey, optogenetics and transgenic technology core, NIDA; Dr. Solomon Snyder, Johns Hopkins University; Coyle; Dr. Andrew Emery, 2014 NIMH IRP Postdoctoral Axelrod Award recipient; Dr. Susan G. Amara, 2014 SfN Julius Axelrod Prize recipient and NIMH scientific director.
On hand at the Axelrod symposium are (from l) Dr. Zheng Li, unit on synapse development plasticity, NIMH; Dr. Zayd Khaliq, cellular neurophysiology unit, NINDS; Dr. Brandon Harvey, optogenetics and transgenic technology core, NIDA; Dr. Solomon Snyder, Johns Hopkins University; Coyle; Dr. Andrew Emery, 2014 NIMH IRP Postdoctoral Axelrod Award recipient; Dr. Susan G. Amara, 2014 SfN Julius Axelrod Prize recipient and NIMH scientific director.

 


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