International neurobiology prize for Professor Stephen Wilson
23 July 2009
Zebrafish research at UCL
Remedios Caro Almela Prize for Research in Developmental Neurobiology
Professor Stephen Wilson (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology) has received the 2009 Remedios Caro Almela Prize in Developmental Neurobiology for his team’s work on the development of the zebrafish brain.
The Neuroscience Institute of the Miguel Hernandez University of Alicante, Spain awards the prize annually in recogniition of the scientific work of a European investigator who is in a highly productive period of their scientific career, making significant contributions to the area of developmental neurobiology.
Professor Wilson is a globally recognised authority on the development of the nervous system. Among his achievements is the discovery, using genetic techniques in zebrafish, of the mechanisms and cell movements that break symmetry in the brain and the molecules that control this process.
The jury stressed the novelty, soundness and quality of Professor Wilson's contribution to this field and the productivity of his research group.
The prize consists of a medal and €18,000. Professor Wilson will receive the award at a ceremony at the Neuroscience Institute on 30 October 2009. He will also deliver the 2010 Caro Almela Lecture, in which he will discuss research enabled by the prize money.
On learning of his award, Professor Wilson said: “I am delighted to receive the Remedios Caro Almela Prize for our work on the development of the zebrafish brain. Although I am the lucky one to receive the prize, the accolade reflects the contributions of many excellent students, post-docs and colleagues who have worked with me both past and present and I raise my glass to all of them.
“I am also very pleased that the Wellcome Trust have just renewed the funding that will enable us to continue our research on brain development, particularly on eye formation and the establishment of left/right asymmetries. We have made good progress in elucidating the genetic basis of brain asymmetry and, in the future, we intend to investigate how asymmetric brain circuits regulate the processing of information and ultimately behaviour. Right now, the left side of my brain is perhaps trying to impose some calm upon the emotionally chaotic activity in my right brain.”
Image: The picture shows neuronal cells (green) and their connections (red) in the brain of a zebrafish embryo. Although the left and right sides of the brain are largely symmetrical, there are differences in numbers of neurons and their connections on left and right. Professor Wilson’s group is studying how such asymmetries arise and their consequences for behaviour.