2008 Gruber Neuroscience Prize

John O’Keefe and his colleagues have found that the brain’s mapping system creates the sense of place by integrating information from different environmental landmarks. Since this discovery, work in many laboratories around the world has begun to uncover aspects of the synaptic plasticity and cellular pathways which enable the hippocampus to remember places in the environment. O’Keefe has recently applied extensive knowledge of place cell behavior and hippocampal spatial function to the study of diseases of memory, in particular Alzheimer’s disease.