Stanford University biology and neurobiology professor Carla Shatz was awarded Tuesday Yale University's 2015 Gruber Foundation Neuroscience Prize for her work, which has contributed to the understanding of such disorders as autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's.
Shatz, who will share the $500,000 prize for the award with Harvard University neurobiology professor Michael Greenberg, was honored for advancing understanding of how neural-circuit function and brain signaling controls wiring, plasticity and development in the brain and how dysfunction can lead to certain disorders, according to the Gruber Foundation.
Officials with the foundation said Shatz's research significantly helps scientists' understanding of neuropsychiatric disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease, and could eventually lead to finding better treatments.
Her study maps how the brain merges two separate visual signals from each eye to form a single image and which brain connections are strengthened or pruned back during and after early development.
The research found that some proteins associated with the immune system play an integral role in this process, highlighting an unprecedented connection between the nervous system and the immune proteins.
Schatz is currently the inaugural chair holder for the Sapp Family Provostial Professorship in Stanford's Department of Neurobiology and the David Starr Jordan director of Stanford Bio-X, Stanford's biomedical and bioscience department.