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Picciotto Honored With Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences

June 11, 2020

Marina Picciotto, PhD, Charles B.G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center, of Neuroscience and of Pharmacology, has been named the 2020 recipient of the Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences.

The prize was established by Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, which is now a part of Carnegie Mellon’s Neuroscience Institute (NI). It is awarded annually and honors significant contributions in the study of mind and brain.

Picciotto is being recognized for her outstanding contributions in neuroscience research, mentorship and service.

The prize also awards a one-year graduate fellowship to a Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) student, named in Picciotto’s honor, for the 2020-21 academic year. The Picciotto Fellow will be a graduate student at CMU, typically working on research related to Picciotto’s interests. The student will be given the opportunity to visit Picciotto’s lab at Yale.

Picciotto has researched the effects of acetylcholine and nicotine on cellular processes, circuits and behaviors relevant to psychiatric illness. Her lab has made multiple discoveries about the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the brain, as well as the effects of nicotine on behaviors involved in use of tobacco products and the consequences of prolonged nicotine use.

Her work has been widely recognized. Her recent honors have included the Marion Spencer Fay Award from the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership of Drexel University College of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health’s Pioneer Award, which recognizes scientists who have a history of creative research and who show promise in originating “pioneering approaches to major challenges.”

Picciotto is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neuroscience. At Yale she is Deputy Chair for Basic Science Research in the Yale Department of Psychiatry and Director of the department’s Biological Sciences Training Program in Psychiatry, as well as Deputy Director of the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience at Yale.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on June 11, 2020