by Robert Sanders
This is a heady week for neurobiologist Corey Goodman.
Shortly after picking up a coveted Gairdner Foundation International Award Friday in Toronto, he steps onto a plane headed for New Orleans to accept another honor-the Ameritec Prize for Paralysis Research.
The Gairdner Award is one of the most prestigious international awards in biomedical science and will be presented Oct. 24 at a private dinner and reception given for Good-man and three other winners of this year's award. Goodman is being honored for his research on how the brain wires itself during early development.
The Ameritec Prize, presented Saturday, Oct. 25, at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, is given for significant accomplishments toward a cure for paralysis.
A developmental neurobiologist at Berkeley since 1987, Goodman is currently an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a professor of neurobiology and genetics, and head of the Division of Neurobiology in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.
A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he uses genetic analysis to try to understand the mechanisms that control the wiring of the brain-that is, how neurons find their correct targets and make appropriate synaptic connections. His goal has been to discover the molecular mechanisms that control brain wiring.
Throughout his career, Goodman has focused his studies on model systems in which molecular genetic approaches can be applied to unraveling these mechanisms. For more than a decade, his group has used genetic analysis in the fruitfly Drosophila to discover some of the key genes that control the events of axon guidance and target recognition.
The Gairdner Foundation lauded Goodman "for his many contributions to developmental neurobiology, in particular for his initial cellular and subsequent molecular and genetic dissection of the mechanisms controlling the guidance of neuronal growth cones to find and recognize their correct targets." Goodman will recieve $30,000 Canadian and a Le Coeur sculpture created specifically for the Gairdner Foundation International Awards.
The Gairdner Foundation was created in 1957 by James Arthur Gairdner to recognize and reward the achievements of medical researchers whose work contributes significantly to improving the quality of human life.
Goodman's colleague Randy Schekman, an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Berkeley and a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, received the Gairdner Award last year, and many prominent scientists are past winners, including this year's Nobel Laureate in medicine, Stanley Prusiner of UCSF.
The Ameritec Foundation is a charitable, non-profit public benefit foundation based in Covina, Calif., founded in 1987 by two entrepreneurs and philanthropists, Thomas A. Hollfelder and John R. Watson.
The foundation recognized Good-man for his accomplishments "in basic research, through the application of a pioneering approach, using Drosophila genetics, to identify a large number of molecules with equivalence in the human spinal cord that are essential for axonal pathfinding." The prize is accompanied by $25,000.