2019 Gruber International Research Award Recipients Announced

Society for Neuroscience Presents Peter and Patricia Gruber International Research Awards

Oct 19, 2019

CHICAGO — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) has announced that Antonio Fernandez-Ruiz, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at New York University, and Julia Sliwa, PhD, an investigator at the Brain and Spine Institute (ICM) in Paris, will receive this year’s Peter and Patricia Gruber International Research Awards. The $25,000 award, supported by The Gruber Foundation, recognizes two young neuroscientists for outstanding research and educational pursuit in an international setting. It will be presented in Chicago at Neuroscience 2019, SfN’s annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

“It is an honor to present the Peter and Patricia Gruber award to these two early-stage scientists,” SfN president Diane Lipscombe said. “Dr. Fernandez-Ruiz and Dr. Sliwa have already added to our understanding of the processing of memory and social interactions, respectively, and both are poised to continue to advance their fields making new discoveries and having ensuring influence on their fields.”

Fernandez-Ruiz studies the role of neuronal sequences in memory formation and planning. He completed his doctorate in Spain at Complutense University of Madrid, before becoming a postdoc at New York University. His current work involves collaborations with scientists at both University College London and the Max Plank Institute in Germany as part of the prestigious Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship. His efforts involve advanced analytical methods, electrophysiological recordings, and optogenetic manipulations to disentangle the different cellular contributions to learning and memory processes. Additionally, Fernandez-Ruiz has been able to demonstrate the role of hippocampal neuronal sequences in spatial working memory.

Sliwa’s work has examined how primates process scenes of social interactions using fMRI, neurophysiological recordings and cross-species comparisons. She completed her graduate work at the University of Lyon, France, before a postdoctoral fellowship at the Rockefeller University. She discovered brain areas in monkeys modulated by social interactions in parts of the brain which support the most high-level forms of social cognition in humans: the attribution of mental states to others. She also proposed a new interpretation of the “mirror system network” that includes circuits that are recruited by social and non-social content. Sliwa now heads her own research group at the ICM.

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is an organization of nearly 36,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and the nervous system.