Israeli-American researcher wins prestigious prize for young scientists

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli-American researcher has won a prestigious annual international science award for his work in sequencing and analyzing the genomes of individual brain cells.

Dr. Gilad Evrony, 34, was awarded on Sunday the Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology, presented by Science magazine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The award was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego.

Born and raised in Jerusalem, Evrony currently is working in a pediatrics residency in New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital. After serving in the Israel Defense Forces, Evrony  studied in the United States, receiving his bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his master’s degree and doctorate from Harvard Medical School.

Evrony worked with colleagues in the laboratory of Christopher Walsh at Boston Children’s Hospital, to develop a way to detect mutations during brain development, which could cause neurologic disease,  by sequencing the genomes of single brain cells.

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The Eppendorf and Science Prize in Neurobiology 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 experiments performed within the last three years. The grand prize winner receives $25,000 from Eppendorf.

In his award-winning essay, “One brain, many genomes,” which was published in the 4 November issue of Science, Evrony describes how single-cell sequencing was used to study the first brain-specific somatic mutations causing a rare congenital brain malformation known as hemimegalencephaly.

“As a physician-scientist, I wanted to pursue research that could help patients with diseases whose causes are not known. I hope our findings inspire more research to bring light to unsolved neurologic diseases,” Evrony said.

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