Neir Eshel, a recent PhD graduate from the Uchida Lab, will deliver this year’s Larry Katz Memorial Prize Lecture at the Cold Spring Harbor conference on Neuronal Circuits in April. The award is given to the current or recent graduate student who has done “the most original and significant work in the past two years on neuronal circuits,” according to the prize announcement.
Eshel, who is also earning an MD at Harvard Medical School, will speak about his research on the neural aspects of learning.
“It was previously discovered that dopamine neurons signal the difference between what an animal expects and what it actually receives. This difference is called prediction error, and it can be used as a teaching signal, allowing animals to learn from previous experiences,” Eshel said. “My project focused on how dopamine neurons calculate this signal.”
“I’m very excited about this lectureship,” Eshel said. “Not only does it let me publicize our work, it also gives me the chance to hear ideas from truly incredible scientists.”
MCB professor Nao Uchida said he was honored to learn of Eshel’s selection for the lectureship.
“I have admired the work of late Dr. Katz, and this is a very special appreciation of our work,” he said. “Neir spent a relatively short time in my lab, but accomplished so much through his critical thinking and hard work. I very much look forward to seeing his great productivity in the future as well.”
The Larry Katz Memorial Lecture was established in honor of the late neurobiologist Lawrence C. Katz, (PDF) and the first lecture was given at the 2008 Cold Spring Harbor meeting. Nominees are recommended by their thesis advisors, and are given complimentary meeting registration and airfare to the April meeting. Previous winners include MIT professor Feng Zhang and Harvard Medical School professor Christopher Harvey.
Neir Eshel’s most recent publication in Nature featured by MCB .