Dr. David Fitzpatrick receives notable honor from Brandeis University for his leadership in Systems Neuroscience

April 26, 2018

Dr. David Fitzpatrick receives notable honor from Brandeis University for his leadership in Systems Neuroscience

The recognition includes presentation of inaugural John Lisman ’66 Memorial Lecture in Vision Science

On Tuesday, April 10, David Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., CEO and Scientific Director of the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience (MPFI), delivered the inaugural John Lisman ’66 Memorial Lecture in Vision Science at Brandeis University. The medium-sized private research university, based outside of Boston and known for its excellent undergraduate education, also presented the award given in conjunction to the lecture to Dr. Fitzpatrick. The award is in recognition of his work as a leader in systems neuroscience, with a focus on the functional organization and development of neural circuits in the cerebral cortex. The public lecture was titled “Functional Synaptic Architecture in Primary Visual Cortex.”

Formerly called the Jay Pepose ’75 Award in Vision Sciences, the name was changed in 2017 to memorialize John Lisman ’66, Ph.D., 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. Dr. Lismann passed away in 2017 at the age of 73.

“I am honored to receive the inaugural John Lisman ’66 Memorial Lecture in Vision Science,” said Dr. Fitzpatrick. “Dr. Lisman was a leader in neurosciences and 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. I am truly thankful for both the opportunity and recognition.”

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. He earned his doctorate from Duke University in Psychology and Neuroscience, and his bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University in Biology.

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.

Dr. 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 Dr. Pepose was an undergraduate. Dr. Pepose was the first student to join Dr. Lisman’s research group on campus. Dr. Lisman was an influential mentor to him and they remained lifelong friends until his passing.

To learn more about the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, please visit www.maxplanckflorida.org. To learn more about Brandeis University, please visit www.brandeis.edu.

Above image:
Dr. Stephen Van Hooser, Dr. Jay Pepose, and Dr. David Fitzpatrick.
Photo credit: Heratch Ekmekjian