The department is pleased to congratulate Dr. Maria Tosches on being awarded the 2022 EMBL John Kendrew Young Scientist Award for “her original contributions to the field of brain evolution.”
This award is conferred to recent alumni of EMBL, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the leading life sciences institute in Europe, who distinguished themselves for their science and/or science communication after leaving the institute.
Dr. Tosches did research at EMBL between 2007 and 2014. After that, she moved to the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research where she worked as a postdoctoral researcher until 2019. “In my research at the Max Planck,” she said, “I applied modern molecular tools to study neuronal diversity in the brain of turtles and lizards.” Her research elucidated “the evolution of neuron types in the cerebral cortex, showing that certain cellular components of the cortex trace back to the ancestors of reptiles, birds and mammals.” The prize recognizes Dr. Tosches’s achievements since leaving EMBL, including her postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, and here at Columbia since the end of 2019.
At Columbia, the Tosches lab is establishing a new research organism, the Spanish ribbed newt Pleurodeles waltl, for research on the evolution of neuron types and neural circuits in the vertebrate brain.
"I am truly honored and humbled to receive the EMBL John Kendrew Award,” said Dr. Tosches. “The years at EMBL were crucial for my scientific training; there I learned how scientific excellence can thrive in a collaborative, inclusive, and fun environment. I consider this award also a recognition of my research field, evolutionary neuroscience, which is experiencing a renaissance thanks to the new methods that research at EMBL contributed to establishing."