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Dr. David Fitzpatrick to receive inaugural Lisman Award in Vision Science

David Fitzpatrick
David Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., CEO and Scientific Director of the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, will deliver the inaugural John Lisman ’66 Memorial Lecture in Vision Science, and will receive the award given in conjunction with the lecture from Brandeis University.

Formerly called the Jay Pepose ’75 Award in Vision Sciences, the name was changed in 2017 to memorialize John Lisman ’66, who earned his undergraduate degree in physics from Brandeis in 1966. He went on to earn a doctorate in physiology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University under Nobel Laureate George Wald. He returned to Brandeis in 1974 as an assistant professor and then a full professor in 1987. John contributed an immense amount to the sciences at his alma mater, in the classroom and in the lab. He was an integral force behind the Pepose Award, from his work in selecting the recipients to his role as host of the lecture and dinner each year. John passed away in 2017 at the age of 73.

Dr. Fitzpatrick, who earned his Ph.D. from Duke University in Psychology and Neuroscience, and his B.S. from Pennsylvania State University in Biology, will deliver a public lecture entitled “Functional Synaptic Architecture in Primary Visual Cortex” on Tuesday, April 10 at 12:30 p.m. in Gerstenzang 121.

Dr. Fitzpatrick has been the CEO and Scientific Director of the Max Planck Florida Institute since 2011. Previously, Dr. Fitzpatrick was the James B. Duke Professor of Neurobiology at the Duke University School of Medicine and Director of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. His scientific contributions have earned him international recognition as a leader in systems neuroscience, with a focus on the functional organization and development of neural circuits in the cerebral cortex.

Dr. Fitzpatrick’s research has played a pivotal role in defining the functional organization of cortical circuits, exploring rules of intracortical connectivity, addressing mechanisms of neural coding, and probing the role of experience in the maturation of cortical circuits. His current research utilizes state-of-the-art in vivo imaging techniques to probe the functional synaptic architecture of circuits in primary visual cortex, defining the circuit mechanisms that build the selective response properties of cortical neurons, and the critical role that neural activity plays in the proper maturation of these circuits.

Refreshments will be served before the lecture, beginning at 12:15 p.m.

The award continues to be funded by a $1 million endowment established in 2009 through a gift from Jay Pepose ’75, MA’75, P’08, P’17, and Susan K. Feigenbaum ’74, P’08, P’17, his wife, through the Lifelong Vision Foundation. The endowment also supports graduate research fellowships in vision science.

Past winners of the Pepose Award include David Williams, University of Rochester; William Newsome, Stanford University; Richard Masland, Harvard University; Gordon Fain, University of California, Los Angeles; Michael Stryker, University of California, San Francisco; Peter Schiller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Jay and Maureen Neitz, University of Washington; and Frank Werblin, a leading retina researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.

Pepose is the founder and medical director of the Pepose Vision Institute in St. Louis and a professor of clinical ophthalmology at Washington University. He founded and serves as board president of the Lifelong Vision Foundation, whose mission is to preserve lifelong vision for people in the St. Louis community, nationally and internationally through research, community programs and education programs. He was part of the inaugural class of fellows of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. While a student at Brandeis, he worked closely with John Lisman, who began his career at the University when Jay was an undergraduate. Jay was the first student to join John’s research group on campus. John was an influential mentor to him and they remained lifelong friends. Upon his passing, Jay and Susan changed the name of the vision science award to honor his memory.

Categories: Campus News
Date: March 20, 2018