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March 18, 2011

University to honor Nobel Prize winner with Eastman Medal

Event includes Rochester premiere of documentary on renowned neuroscientist Eric Kandel

man in libary setting

Nobel laureate Eric Kandel will receive the University’s Eastman Medal Thursday, March 24, at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Kandel received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2000 for his research into the understanding of memory.

The award ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. in Class of ’62 Auditorium. President Joel Seligman, Chairman of the Board Emeritus G. Robert Witmer ’59, and Medical Center CEO Bradford Berk, will present the Eastman Medal to Kandel.

Named for George Eastman, philanthropist and founder of Eastman Kodak Co., and a benefactor of the University, the medal is awarded to individuals who, through outstanding achievement and dedicated service, embody the ideals for which the University stands.

In addition to receiving the award, Kandel will deliver a lecture titled “The Short and Long of Long-term Memory,” followed by a screening of the documentary In Search of Memory. The film, which begins at 2:30 p.m., recounts Kandel’s life, including his childhood experiences in Nazi-occupied Austria and his emigration to the United States, and chronicles scientific developments in our understanding of the brain’s role in recording and preserving memory. Kandel will introduce the film, which is sponsored, in part, by Hillel.

As one of the world’s most respected neuroscientists, Kandel pioneered much of our modern neurological understanding of memory. He was the first to demonstrate how neurons store information and how the brain’s cellular and circuitry systems process and manage that information over time.

His research has provided new insights into the connections between the psychological processes of learning and the cellular signaling of neurophysiology.

Educated at Harvard University and New York University School of Medicine, he began his research career at the National Institute of Mental Health. After completing his residency in clinical psychiatry, Kandel worked as a staff psychiatrist at Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston while continuing research and teaching at Harvard Medical School.

In 1965, Kandel joined the faculty at New York University and then Columbia University in 1974 and became director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior shortly thereafter. He is the Fred Kavli Professor and director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science at Columbia University.

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