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Salk professor Fred Gage awarded Fyssen Foundation International Prize


Fred "Rusty" Gage

Fred "Rusty" Gage, a professor in the Salk Institute Laboratory of Genetics and holder of the Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases, was honored with the Fyssen Foundation's 2011 International Prize on the theme "The Epigenetics of Cognition."

"The award is for our discovery of adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus derived from stem cells in humans and that mobile elements in neural stems cells add to somatic diversity, which creates a repertoire of cells on which selection can act for epigenetic adaptation," said Gage. "This blurs the boundary between epigenetic and genetic mechanisms, both of which can contribute to unique differences in cognition."

Established in 1979, the Paris-based Fyssen Foundation seeks to encourage all forms of scientific inquiry into such cognitive mechanisms as thought and reasoning, which underlie animal and human behavior, their biological and cultural bases, and phylogenetic and ontogenetic development. The organization has given out the international prize annually since 1980 in recognition of an outstanding scientist who has conducted distinguished research in ethology, human paleontology, anthropology, psychology, epistemology, logic or the neurosciences.

Gage's selection as the recipient of the organization's International Prize is further acknowledgement of his reputation as one of the world's foremost experts in neurobiology. He is the first Salk scientist to receive the prestigious award, which was presented at a ceremony March 23 in Paris.