Neuroscientist Gaby Maimon given top honor from White House for early career scientists

Gaby Maimon, assistant professor and head of the Laboratory of Integrative Brain 140117-maimon-pecase-awardFunction at Rockefeller, has been chosen by President Obama as one of 20 NIH scientists to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to scientists and engineers in the early stages of their careers.

Maimon is being recognized for his work linking genes to higher brain function by way of cellular electrophysiology, research that earned him the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award in 2012.

The presidential early career award was founded in 1996 to support scientists and engineers who show exceptional potential early on in their careers, and has awarded 233 NIH researchers. Awardees will be honored by the President at a White House ceremony.

Maimon, who joined Rockefeller as assistant professor in 2011, aims to link the electrical activity of neurons and the biochemical action of molecules to their computational roles in animal behavior. In the work recognized by the award, his lab seeks to understand how genes in fruit flies, through their effect on the electrical activity of neurons, influence behavioral choices, with the goal of discovering general principles that could ultimately guide more rational drug design for human mental illness.

In addition to the New Innovator Award, Maimon has received the Searle Scholar Award, the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and the Irma T. Hirschl/Monique Weill-Caulier Trusts Research Award. He was named one of Popular Science’s Brilliant Ten in 2011 and is a New York Stem Cell Foundation–Robertson Investigator.

Past Rockefeller recipients of the award include Ali Brivanlou in 1999 and Michael Rout and Leslie Vosshall in 2001.

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