AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize
2013 Award Recipients
The 2013 Newcomb Cleveland Prize is awarded to Travis A. Jarrell, Yi Wang, Adam E. Bloniarz, Christopher A. Brittin, Meng Xu, J. Nichol Thomson, Donna G. Albertson, David H. Hall, and Scott W. Emmons for their outstanding research article, “The Connectome of a Decision-Making Neural Network,” published in Science 27 July, 2012 (pp. 437-444).
Extensively detailed in this paper, Jarrell et al. used a series of 5,000 electron micrographs to reconstruct every neuron and synapse, including chemical synapses and gap junctions, in the posterior nervous system of a male nematode. This wiring diagram, known as a connectome, reveals the sexual circuits in the animal’s tail and how sensory neurons interpret signals from the environment, translating them into mating behaviors, including locomotion, posture, and insemination. The resulting network highlights various classes of neurons, such as sensory neurons with specialized external structures; motor neurons that communicate exclusively with muscles or gonads; and interneurons that form connections with other neurons. It also reveals new mapping technology that is not only a technical breakthrough but is innovative and can be recognized as a game changer. By gleaning the fundamental principles behind the wiring of neural networks, based on the male nematode, scientists hope that it may be possible to understand more broadly how nervous systems generate key behaviors.
The 2012-2013 Newcomb Cleveland Prize Selection Committee included Marcia McNutt, the Science Editor-in-Chief as well as Science Senior Editorial Board members Paul Alivisatos of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley; Michael Turner, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago; Susan Rosenberg, Professor, Departments of Molecular and Human Genetics, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine; William Butz, World Population Program; Andrew Sugden, Science Deputy Editor, Biological Sciences; Valda Vinson, Science Deputy Editor, Biological Sciences; and Barbara Jasny, Science Deputy Editor, Commentary.
Please click here for a list of past recipients.