The American scientist Lauren Orefice, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School has won the 2019 Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology for her work on the causes and potential therapies for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Dr. Orefice found that peripheral somatosensory neurons – neurons outside the brain that control the sense of touch – are key areas where autism-associated gene mutations have a critical impact. She showed how abnormal function of peripheral somatosensory neurons causes touch over-reactivity and how this over-reactivity during development contributes to altered brain function and some autism-related behaviors in mice. Dr. Orefice’s work changes how we think about the causes of ASD, providing a surprising revision of widely-held views that link ASD exclusively to brain function. She highlights peripheral somatosensory neurons as a possible novel therapeutic target for improving some ASD-related symptoms.
The annual US$25,000 Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology honors scientists, like Dr. Orefice, for their ground-breaking research. Lauren Orefice is the 18th recipient of this international prize which is awarded jointly by Eppendorf and the journal Science. Researchers who are 35 years of age or younger and have made outstanding contributions to neurobiological research based on methods of molecular and cell biology are invited to apply. The next deadline for applications is June 15, 2020. For more information about Dr. Orefice and the Eppendorf and Science Prize for Neurobiology, visit www.eppendorf.com/prize
Eppendorf is a leading life science company that develops and sells instruments, consumables, and services for liquid handling, sample handling, and cell handling in laboratories worldwide. Its product range includes pipettes and automated pipetting systems, dispensers, centrifuges, mixers, spectrometers, and DNA amplification equipment as well as ultra-low temperature freezers, fermentors, bioreactors, CO2 incubators, shakers, and cell manipulation systems. Consumables such as pipette tips, test tubes, microplates, and single-use bioreactor vessels complement the range of highest-quality premium products.
Eppendorf products are most broadly used in academic and commercial research laboratories, e.g., in companies from the pharmaceutical and biotechnological as well as the chemical and food industries. They are also aimed at clinical and environmental analysis laboratories, forensics, and at industrial laboratories performing process analysis, production, and quality assurance.
Eppendorf was founded in Hamburg, Germany in 1945 and has more than 3,100 employees worldwide. The company has subsidiaries in 26 countries and is represented in all other markets by distributors.