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07/31/2000 07:00:00

Caltech Faculty Member Receives McKnight Award

Pasadena, Calif.--Gilles Laurent, associate professor of biology and computational and neural systems at the California Institute of Technology, has received the McKnight Investigator Award for his work in "Memory in Olfactory Network Dynamics." This award, granted by the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience, is given to stimulate research in neuroscience as it pertains to memory and, ultimately, to a clearer understanding of diseases affecting memory. Laurent is one of five scientists to have received the award nationally. Each McKnight recipient will receive a grant of $150,000 over the next three years to further his or her work in neuroscience.

Laurent is renowned for his work on the "sense of smell," or olfactory processing in the brain. This work may have extensive medical and commercial applications. Laurent earned a PhD from the University of Toulouse (France), and a DVM from the National School of Veterinary Medicine of Toulouse. He has been a member of the faculty at Caltech since 1990.

The McKnight Foundation was established in 1953 by William L. and Maude L. McKnight. Supported through the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience, the McKnight Awards programs in neuroscience were established in 1976 to stimulate research in neuroscience, especially as it pertains to memory. The specific purpose of the McKnight Awards program is to identify investigative programs of outstanding quality involving established neuroscientists and to encourage these seasoned investigators to develop new approaches to an understanding of the basic mechanisms of memory and diseases affecting it.

Founded in 1891, Caltech is now ranked as one of the top universities in the country. Over the years, 28 Nobel Prizes and four Crafoord Prizes have been awarded to faculty members and alumni. Forty-five Caltech faculty members and alumni have received the National Medal of Science; and eight alumni (two of whom are also trustees), two additional trustees, and one faculty member have won the National Medal of Technology. Since 1958, 13 faculty members have received the annual California Scientist of the Year award. On the Caltech faculty there are 77 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and on the faculty and Board of Trustees, 70 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 48 members of the National Academy of Engineering.

Contact: Deborah Williams-Hedges (626) 395-3227

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Written by Deborah Williams-Hedges