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Carmel Valley pediatric neurogeneticist wins national award for contributions to neuroscience

The Director of Neurodevelopmental Genetics and endowed chair at Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine Joseph Gleeson, MD, a Carmel Valley resident, is the first recipient of the Constance Lieber Prize for Innovation in Developmental Neuroscience.

The award recognizes transformative contributions in developmental neuroscience leading to new treatments by an investigator under 55 years of age. It was established by the Lieber Institute for Brain Development (LIBD), an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The award includes a $100,000 cash prize and will be presented to Gleeson in June at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

“Dr. Gleeson is a highly regarded and accomplished developmental neuroscientist,” said LIBD Director and CEO Daniel R. Weinberger, MD. “His latest work to uncover the molecular origins of developmental behavior disorders made him a unanimous choice for the inaugural recipient of this prize.”

At the Rady Children’s Institute of Genomic Medicine, Gleeson is building a program in neurogenetics that seeks to understand the genetic basis of diseases such as epilepsy, autism and mental disability to develop new treatments. His pioneering work is supported by a $2.5 million endowment for neuroscience provided by Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary.

“I am absolutely thrilled and humbled to receive the Constance Lieber Prize for Innovation in Developmental Neuroscience,” said Gleeson. “My hope is that someday children and families with brain disorders can benefit from the work we’re doing in what I call ‘assembly neuroscience’, that is, how the human brain is assembled, and to which I feel honored to have contributed.”

In addition to his leadership role at Rady Children’s, Gleeson is also a professor of Neuroscience and Pediatrics at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, Adjunct Professor with The Rockefeller University, and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institution.

The Lieber Institute for Brain Development established the new prize to honor Connie Lieber, one of the Institute’s founders, for her leadership in the area of mental health research and her prescient insights about the central role of brain development in psychiatric illness. More information about the prize can be found at www.clprize.libd.org

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