WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of women in neuroscience during Neuroscience 2018, SfN’s annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
“SfN is happy to recognize these talented neuroscientists, not only for their research contributions but also for their efforts to increase the representation of women in science,” SfN President Richard Huganir said. “Their dedication to mentoring and encouraging the next generation of female neuroscientists will ultimately strengthen the field and lead to discoveries that advance the field.”
Bernice Grafstein Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Mentoring: Elaine Del Bel and Herbert Geller
The Bernice Grafstein Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Mentoring recognizes an individual or individuals who have shown dedication to mentoring female neuroscientists and to facilitating their entry into or retention in the field. Established in 2009, this award is supported by Bernice Grafstein, PhD, who was the first female president of SfN.
One of this year’s honorees is Elaine Del Bel, PhD, professor and leader of the Laboratory of Cellular Neurobiology at the University of São Paolo at Ribeirão Preto Dental School. She is also president of the Federation of Neuroscience Societies in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Iberian Peninsula. She has successfully trained and mentored more than 130 undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral fellows, including 84 women and many young scientists from Central and South America.
In addition to her pioneering work on degenerative diseases of the nervous system, Del Bel has instituted a host of programs to foster equality among students, especially female students, in Latin America. Del Bel’s longstanding commitment to mentoring future generations of female leaders in neuroscience is reflected in her participation in science outreach programs and committees around the world. These include serving on the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) Women in World Neuroscience Leadership Committee and organizing Women in World Neuroscience meetings in 2011 and 2012.
Herbert Geller, PhD, director, Office of Education and chief, Developmental Neurobiology Section at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of NIH has also been selected to receive this year’s award. Since the early 1980s, Geller has mentored dozens of students and fellows, including 30 female neuroscientists. He has mentored countless others through SfN programs and as program director for NIH Training Programs. Even in the earliest stages of his career, Geller focused on promoting the training and retention of female neuroscientists. He is well-regarded throughout the field for tailoring his guidance to individuals to cultivate their unique talents and assets as well as for remaining in touch with and available to former trainees and colleagues.
Geller is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and his contributions to teaching and mentoring have been recognized with an NHLBI Director’s Award for Promoting Diversity.