2023 Gruber Neuroscience Prize

Huda Akil, Ph.D., of the Michigan Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan, has made pioneering contributions to understanding the molecular, neural, and behavioral mechanisms of pain, stress, depression and substance abuse. This includes the discovery that the brain has its own opioid system for blocking pain via the endorphins, and a natural way of modulating depression and anxiety via a growth factor, FGF2. These and other discoveries have led to a new understanding of pain, stress, and substance abuse and offered insight into mechanisms that affect the risk for depression.