Newswise — CLEVELAND—Marissa Scavuzzo, a postdoctoral fellow at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, has won the 2023 Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology for research in how glial cells in the intestine’s nervous system operate.
Glial cells are considered support cells in the brain and help control and safeguard neurons. It is unclear what they do in the gut.
The goal of Scavuzzo’s research is to understand the role of enteric glia in a healthy gut and how they respond to dietary, environmental or genetic changes. Her research could lead to the development of novel and efficient medicines that may benefit millions of people with gastrointestinal illnesses.
“It’s still surreal,” Scavuzzo, the HHMI Hanna H. Gray Fellow in the School of Medicine’s Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences, said of the coveted award. “I am grateful to Eppendorf and Science for their recognition of my work, and will be forever grateful to my postdoctoral mentor, Dr. Paul Tesar, who played a crucial role in fostering my research in his lab. My long-term research goal is to understand the molecular underpinnings of enteric glia’s functional states in both health and disease.”
“Marissa is a superstar,” said Tesar, professor of genetics and genome sciences and the Donald and Ruth Weber Goodman Professor of Innovative Therapeutics at School of Medicine. “I am so proud of her for receiving this prestigious award that recognizes her groundbreaking science.”
Since 2002, the annual Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology has honored early-career scientists for groundbreaking research. Scavuzzo is the 22nd recipient of this international prize, which is awarded jointly by the journal Science and Eppendorf SE, a leading Germany-based life-science company that develops, makes and sells systems for use in laboratories worldwide..
Researchers age 35 and younger who have made outstanding contributions to neurobiological research based on methods of molecular and cell biology are invited to apply. The winner is awarded $25,000 and is able to publish an essay published in Science.
“Eppendorf and the journal Science have awarded this prestigious prize for over 20 years. Many awardees have gone on to become leading scientists in their field,” said Alex Jahns, Eppendorf’s vice president of corporate citizenship and governmental affairs. “Congratulations to Marissa on her amazing achievement in winning this year’s award.”
“The support from the School of Medicine has been critical to the success of my research,” Scavuzzo said, “and continued collaborations with colleagues will help advance my work towards my goal in the future.”
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