The 2019 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize has been awarded to Synthetic Neurobiology head Ed Boyden, Karl Deisseroth, Peter Hegemann, and Gero Miesenböck, for their pioneering work in the field of optogenetics. In association with Harvard Medical School, the Warren Alpert Foundation honors scientists whose work has improved the understanding, prevention, treatment or cure of human disease.
In its press release regarding the award, the Warren Alpert Foundation writes, "Collectively, the work of the four scientists honored this year has transformed neuroscience by allowing researchers an unprecedented degree of control over the inner workings of the brain. Their discoveries established the field of optogenetics, propelled it forward and laid the foundation for optogenetic-based therapies for disorders ranging from Parkinson’s to addiction.
“It is truly an honor to be included among the extremely distinguished list of winners of the Alpert Award,” Boyden told the McGovern Institute, where he is the Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neurotechnology. “To me personally, it is exciting to see the relatively new field of neurotechnology recognized. The brain implements our thoughts and feelings. It makes us who we are. This mysteries and challenge requires new technologies to make the brain understandable and repairable. It is a great honor that our technology of optogenetics is being thus recognized.”
Prize recipients are selected by the foundation’s scientific advisory board, which is composed of distinguished biomedical scientists and chaired by the dean of Harvard Medical School. The honorees will share a $500,000 prize and be recognized at a daylong symposium on October 3 at Harvard Medical School.