September 23, 2015

Novarino to receive Boehringer Ingelheim FENS Research Award

Novarino receives prestigious award in neuroscience

Neuroscientist Gaia Novarino has been awarded the Boehringer Ingelheim FENS Research Award 2016. This award, donated by the pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim and announced by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), is one of the most prestigious European awards in neuroscience. The prize is worth EUR 25,000 and is awarded in recognition of outstanding and innovative scientific work to European scientists under 40 years of age. The Boehringer-Ingelheim FENS Award is presented at the Forum of European Neuroscience with the awardee giving a special lecture in 2016.

Gaia Novarino, professor at IST Austria since 2014, is honored for her research on the genetic and molecular mechanisms underlying human genetic disorders. Currently, she is leading a research program with a focus on inherited forms of epilepsy, intellectual disability and autism. Epilepsy affects millions of people, many of them children who frequently do not respond to therapy. Often, epilepsy patients also suffer from autism or intellectual disability, comprising the neurodevelopmental disorder (NDD) spectrum. Gaia Novarino asks whether all these disorders share common molecular mechanisms, and seeks to identify the genes and the mechanisms responsible for these disorders by studying genetic forms of NDDs.

Novarino: “Each gene identified probably only represents a fraction of all genes that cause this spectrum of disorders. Nevertheless, studying rare forms of epilepsy, autism and intellectual disability can be extremely helpful as similarities among the functions of disease-causing genes may point to a small number of molecular mechanisms responsible for neurodevelopmental diseases. Importantly, studying rare inherited diseases could contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the human brain and to the development of novel treatment strategies for patients with NDD.”

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