April 18, 2016

Salk recruits award-winning neurobiologist Eiman Azim

Salk News


Salk recruits award-winning neurobiologist Eiman Azim

LA JOLLA—Broadening its expertise in neuroscience, the Salk Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Eiman Azim as an assistant professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory. He will join the Institute in May.

“Eiman is an innovative scientist who is making exciting discoveries to expand our knowledge of neural circuits and movement,” says Elizabeth Blackburn, president of the Salk Institute. “His research will ultimately enable us to better understand the brain and potentially help generate new treatments for neural and spinal cord dysfunction.”

Azim head shot
Eiman Azim, assistant professor in Salk’s Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory

Click here for a high-resolution image.

Credit: Arthur Cohen Photography

Azim was previously a postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University Medical Center, where he investigated neural circuits in the spinal cord and brain to find out how skilled movements work—in particular, actions like reacting quickly to catch a ball or throw a dart. He used genetic, molecular, electrophysiological and behavioral techniques in mouse models to study how the brain directs limbs to reach for and grab objects with speed and precision. He identified two genetically distinct spinal circuits crucial to achieving this goal: one class of neurons responsible for the stability of the limb during movement and another responsible for providing rapid feedback to help the brain monitor and correct movements.

The Azim laboratory will continue to decode the fundamental circuitry for complex behavior and explore how the brain controls its incredibly diverse repertoire of movements. His research aims to provide a deeper understanding of human motor function and dysfunction, providing the groundwork for developing novel treatments for motor disorders.

“I am confident that the insight we will gain about motor control holds promise for a better understanding of the nervous system and its evolution and should provide a stronger foundation for addressing problems that affect the human motor system,” says Azim. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to have the opportunity to pursue these goals at the Salk Institute, where there is a palpable feeling of team effort directed at some of the toughest problems out there.”

Azim received undergraduate degrees in biology and philosophy from Stanford University in 2003 and his PhD from Harvard University in 2010. In 2014, he won the esteemed Eppendorf & Science Prize for his work on neural circuits involved in skilled movement.

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Every cure has a starting point. The Salk Institute embodies Jonas Salk’s mission to dare to make dreams into reality. Its internationally renowned and award-winning scientists explore the very foundations of life, seeking new understandings in neuroscience, genetics, immunology, plant biology and more. The Institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark: small by choice, intimate by nature and fearless in the face of any challenge. Be it cancer or Alzheimer’s, aging or diabetes, Salk is where cures begin.