Neuroscience awards named in honor of Ben Barres

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a Palo Alto-based philanthropic organization, has launched a major research effort to inject fresh energy, ideas and talent into understanding the basic biology of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Ben Barres
Ben Barres (Image credit: Mark Tuschman)

The research will be funded through two programs, including one that will support early career investigators willing to pursue bold, innovative ideas. These five-year awards, known as the CZI Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Awards, are named in honor of the late Stanford neuroscientist BEN BARRES, who died in December at the age of 63.

CZI will also fund a series of collaborative science awards — three-year grants for small, interdisciplinary groups of scientists, clinicians and engineers working together on innovative high-risk, high-impact projects in basic science.

Cori Bargmann, president of Chan Zuckerberg Science, said the group chose to name the young investigator awards in Barres’ honor because he was “a spiritual guide” for the work. An advocate for basic science and for the mentorship of young researchers, Barres had been an adviser to CZI since its inception in 2015 and had a hand in helping craft the awards program.

Barres made significant discoveries about the role of glial cells, the underrecognized cells that comprise the majority of brain cells, and in doing so revolutionized the field of neuroscience.

The CZI Ben Barres Early Career Acceleration Awards are open to scientists worldwide. The awards are open to MDs and PhDs who are new to the field of neurodegeneration. Awardees will receive $500,000 a year for five years, for a total of $2.5 million. The collaborative science awards will provide recipients with $350,000 a year for three years, or a total of $1.05 million.

Information about the awards is available online.

Read the full article on the School of Medicine website.