Catherine Dulac, Cori Bargmann are co-recipients of 11th Perl–UNC Neuroscience Prize

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 — The Perl prize carries a $10,000 award and is given to recognize a seminal achievement in neuroscience. Past recipients have included four subsequent winners of the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine.

Catherine Dulac, Cori Bargmann are co-recipients of 11th Perl–UNC Neuroscience Prize
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Catherine Dulac, left, and Cari Bargmann, right.

CHAPEL HILL, NC — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has named Catherine Dulac, PhD and Cori Bargmann, PhD as co-recipients of the 11th Perl–UNC Neuroscience Prize.

Dr. Dulac is the Chair and Higgins Professor in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University and is also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Dr. Bargmann is the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor in the Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior at Rockefeller University.  She is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

The Perl prize carries a $10,000 award and is given to recognize a seminal achievement in neuroscience.  Past recipients have included four subsequent winners of the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine.  Dr. Edward R. Perl is Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Cell and Molecular Physiology at the UNC School of Medicine.  Perl’s work in pain mechanisms has been highly influential.  Thirty years ago, he was the first to prove that a particular class of nerve cells (now called nociceptors) responds exclusively to stimuli that are perceived as painful.  These cells now are targets of intensive efforts to find drugs that block their function.

This year’s Perl Prize is being awarded to Drs. Dulac and Bargmann for the “Discovery of chemosensory circuits that regulate social behaviors.”

“Dr. Dulac discovered receptors for pheromones, molecules that allow animals to distinguish males from females (sex discrimination) and that influence sexual behaviors.  She also identified the neural circuits where pheromone receptors function. Dr. Bargmann has used the simple invertebrate, C. elegans to study the interplay between environment, experience, and intrinsic properties of neural circuits in animal behavior. Using sophisticated neural circuit dissection and population genetics, she has discovered how sensory inputs and genes regulate a network that controls solitary verses social feeding behaviors,” said Dr. William Snider, director of the UNC Neuroscience Center and head of the selection committee for the prize.

School of Medicine Dean William L. Roper, MD, MPH, will present Dr. Dulac’s share of the award at 11:45 a.m. April 21 in room G202 in the Medical Biomolecular Research Building on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Dr. Dulac will deliver her Perl Prize lecture immediately following the ceremony.

Dr. Bargmann will deliver her Perl Prize lecture at the 12th Annual UNC Neuroscience Symposium on Oct. 13 and receive her share of the award then.

Media contact: Les Lang, (919) 966-9366, llang@med.unc.edu

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