Essays on Science and SocietyEPPENDORF 2006 WINNER

2006 Grand Prize Winner

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Science  06 Oct 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5796, pp. 73
DOI: 10.1126/science.314.5796.73

The author of the prize-winning essay, Doris Tsao, was born in Changzhou, China, and grew up in College Park, Maryland. Dr. Tsao studied biology and mathematics at Caltech, receiving her B.S. in 1996. She moved on to do graduate work in the laboratory of Dr. Margaret Livingstone at Harvard Medical School, where she studied binocular depth perception. While a graduate student, she became interested in monkey fMRI as a way to chart unexplored regions of the brain, and worked together with Roger Tootell to image macaque brain regions involved in depth and face perception. She received her Ph.D. in 2002 but remained as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Livingstone's laboratory in order to continue her experiments on face perception. In 2004, she received a Sofia Kovalevskaya Award from the Humboldt Foundation. This award allowed her to set up her own lab at the University of Bremen, Germany. Dr. Tsao's goal is to understand how a sheet of cells 2 mm thick can construct a three-dimensional world and effortlessly recognize the multitude of objects within it. Her laboratory uses a combination of electrophysiology, imaging, psychophysics, and anatomical techniques. Outside the laboratory, she likes to swim, cook, and play the violin.



Bernardo Sabatini for his essay, “Establishing synaptic independence: How neurons create diffusional barriers.” Dr. Sabatini was born and raised in New York. He received his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Harvard College in 1991. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in 1999 from Harvard Medical School, having completed his thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Wade Regehr. After graduation, he joined the lab of Dr. Karel Svoboda at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2001, Dr. Sabatini started his own laboratory in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, which is focused on understanding the processes that regulate the structure and function of synapses and how these processes are perturbed in neurological diseases. His life outside of science is mostly spent trying to keep up with his three sons.


Gábor Tamás for his essay, “Lighting the f ire in cortical microcircuits: Exciting role for chandelier cells.” Dr. Tamás was born in Dunaújváros, Hungary, and completed undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Szeged, Hungary. As a graduate student he was trained in neuroanatomy and physiology in the group of Peter Somogyi at the University of Oxford, where he investigated the function, number, and location of synapses between neocortical neurons. In 1998, Dr. Tamás returned to Szeged to establish his own laboratory and identified the first intercellular mechanism capable of synchronizing cortical neurons at gamma frequency. His group discovered that the so-called neurogliaform interneuron is capable of eliciting slow, GABAB receptor-mediated inhibition in the cerebral cortex. Dr. Tamás was a gymnast for 15 years but now gets his exercise from whitewater rafting, skiing, and hiking in the mountains.


For the full text of essays by the finalists and for information about applying for next year's awards, see Science Online at

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