Neuroscience tab

2014 Gruber Neuroscience Prize

Thomas Jessell, PhD, is the Claire Tow Professor of Neuroscience and Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University, and has been a pioneer in the study of spinal neural circuits, particularly in how the formation and organization of those circuits control movement. During the past 30 years, he has identified many of the key cellular, molecular, and genetic mechanisms that oversee those circuits — discoveries that have helped establish and expand an entire field of scientific study: developmental neuroscience. Jessell has also led the way in showing that certain signaling pathways in the neural circuits of the spinal cord can be manipulated to induce embryonic stem cells to form specific subtypes of motor neurons. These findings have given scientists important new insights into how stem cells might be used to treat degenerative spinal cord diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).