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July 2013--David Foster, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will be awarded the 2013 Freedman Prize Honorable Mention for Exceptional Basic Research at an awards ceremony in New York City on July 26. The prize will be awarded by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the oldest U.S. nonprofit to support a broad range of mental health research. Foster is a grantee of the foundation and the award is meant to honor him as an early-career researcher contributing exceptional, cutting-edge work to the mental health field.
"David is a very creative scientist with a passion for his work, and I am glad he is being recognized by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation for his exceptional research," says Richard Huganir, Ph.D., professor and director of the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience.
Foster is being recognized for his work, and the innovative tools he developed, to study the neural basis of memory. His work focuses on nerve cells in the hippocampus region of the brain. Damage to the hippocampus disrupts specific types of memory and learning in people with Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive decline. Foster has combined advanced electrophysiological, computational and behavioral approaches to investigate the coordinated activity of large numbers of hippocampal nerve cells in rats that are awake and engaged in tasks, like finding their way back to a familiar location. Foster's work suggests that the processes used by the brain to do these simple tasks are similar to those used in higher-order brain functions, like problem-solving.
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