Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology
Winner 2017 Eppendorf & Science Prize
The Italian scientist Flavio Donato, Ph.D. has won the 2017 Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology for his work on the driving forces that orchestrate the maturation of circuits representing space in the brain.
Dr. Donato carried out his research in the laboratory of Professors May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser at the Kavli Institute of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Flavio Donato’s work has revealed that, during development, stellate cells in the medial entorhinal cortex are the source of an activity-dependent instructive signal necessary for the maturation of those neurons that give us a sense of where we are. This finding proves the existence of autonomous, intrinsic drivers that guide the maturation of widespread regions of cortex from deep within the brain. Unravelling the unique contribution of these specific neuronal populations to the function of neural circuits will advance our understanding of how the brain processes abstract cognitive functions.