Campus & Community

Postdoc fellow wins neurobiology prize

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Christopher Gregg honored for research on brain function

Christopher Gregg, a postdoctoral fellow in Harvard’s Molecular and Cellular Biology Department, is the 2010 Grand Prize winner in the annual international competition for the Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology.

In his award-winning essay, “Parental Control Over the Brain,” Gregg explained how he and his team at Harvard figured out how mother- and father-specific genetic cues influence their offspring’s brains.

“My interests are now focused on determining whether maternal and/or paternal gene expression programs in offspring are altered according to stresses and environmental effects experienced by parents,” said Gregg, who will join the University of Utah as an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy next year. “This is an exciting possibility that could reveal pathways that prepare offspring for the environment into which they will be born.”

His findings reveal some of the specific parental effects associated with brain development and diseases, such as multiple sclerosis — and they provide a roadmap for future research in this field. “I believe these effects have major relevance for our understanding of brain evolution, function, and disease,” said Gregg.

The prize recognizes outstanding international neurobiological research based on current methods and advances in the field of molecular and cell biology by a young early-career scientist, as described in a 1,000-word essay based on research performed within the past three years. Gregg received $25,000, and his essay will be published in the Nov. 5 issue of the journal Science.

Gregg and the finalists will be recognized at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience on Nov. 15 in San Diego.