The first Excellent Paper in Neuroscience Award
ERA-Net Neuron announced the winners of the Excellent Paper in Neuroscience award for young scientists for the year 2009. The award ceremony took place during the 7th Forum of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) in Amsterdam (July 3-5).
The two winners, awarded each a prize of 3,000 Euro, were Dr. Heidi O. Nousiainen from the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland, and Dr. Asya Rolls from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. "The first Excellent Paper in Neuroscience Award is awarded to outstanding scientific publications by young researchers in the field of disease related neurosciences," says Dr. Marlies Dorlöchter, coordinator of ERA-Net Neuron. "The two winners have made significant contributions towards our understanding of disease and injury of the nervous system as well as the development of novel therapies. Their achievements emphasize the high quality neuroscience research undertaken in Europe."
Dr. Heidi O. Nousiainen received the award on her publication in Nature Genetics (2008) describing the identification of the gene underlying two fatal nervous system diseases (LCCS1 and LAAHD) that are characterized by marked atrophy of spinal cord motoneurons and fetal immobility, and who are lethal already during fetal development or shortly after birth. Dr. Nousiainen discovered that the disease causing gene is GLE1 which encodes for a protein that has been shown to participate in mRNA export from the nucleus as well translation of mRNA into protein. This discovery adds a new and important member to the increasing number of RNA processing molecules linked to neurodegenerative diseases. This study provides significant new information about the molecular background of fetal motoneuron disease, but at the same time also gives insight into the mechanisms that are essential for the normal development as well as maturation and functioning of motoneurons.