"The 2008 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience was awarded jointly to Pasko Rakic, of the Yale University School of Medicine, US, Thomas Jessell, of Columbia University, US, and Sten Grillner, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, who collectively have deciphered the basic mechanisms that govern the development and functioning of the networks of cells in the brain and spinal cord.
"The first Kavli Prize in Neuroscience recognizes a confluence of career achievements that together provide a fundamental understanding of how brain and spinal cord circuits are assembled during development and function in the adult. The members of the Kavli Neuroscience Prize Committee have decided to reward three scientists jointly "for discoveries on the developmental and functional logic of neuronal circuits".
"Pasko Rakic performed groundbreaking studies of the developing cerebral cortex, including the discovery of how radial glia guide the neuronal migration that establishes cortical layers, and formulated the radial unit hypothesis with its implications for cortical connectivity and evolution.
"Thomas Jessell discovered molecular principles governing the specification and patterning of different neuron types and the development of their synaptic interconnection into sensorimotor circuits.
"Sten Grillner elucidated principles of network organization in the vertebrate locomotor central pattern generator, along with its command systems and sensory and higher order control.
"The discoveries of Rakic, Jessell and Grillner provide a framework for how neurons obtain their identities and ultimate locations, establish appropriate connections with each other, and how the resultant neuronal networks operate. Their work has significantly advanced our understanding of brain development and function and created new opportunities for the treatment of neurological disorders. Each has pioneered an important area of neuroscience research and left a legacy of exceptional scientific achievement, insight, communication, mentoring and leadership."
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