The 52nd Rosenstiel Award, given annually to honor distinguished work in medical research, will go to Christine Holt and Erin Schuman.

According to the award’s page on the Brandeis website, in 1971, “the Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research was established as an expression of the conviction that educational institutions have an important role to play in the encouragement and development of basic science as it applies to medicine.” The medals are presented annually on the basis of recommendations made by Boston-area scientists who are appointed by the director of the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center. Awards are given to scientists for recent discoveries of particular originality. 

This year’s 52nd Rosenstiel Award has been awarded to Christine Holt, professor of developmental neuroscience at the University of Cambridge; and Erin Schuman, professor of neurobiology at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research. According to an article in BrandeisNOW, they were chosen for their “pioneering work shedding light on the role of local protein synthesis in neuronal development and function.” They also “provided important insights about the way nerve cells are guided over long distances, from the eye to the brain, and how specific regions of nerve cells may change during learning and memory.” 

More specifically, their work has developed imaginative cellular and molecular approaches to study how the translation of messenger RNA into protein can be localized to specific regions of a nerve cell. This type of research will allow researchers to further understand many neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Fragile X syndrome, which causes mild to severe intellectual disability since birth, and severe autism disorders. 

The Rosenstiel Award has had a well-known record of identifying scientists who are subsequently honored with the Lasker and Nobel Prizes. According to the award’s webpage, 38 of 93 Rosenstiel Award winners have later won the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology or in Chemistry, which shows the University’s commitment to recognizing world-class research. Schuman and Holt will present their Rosenstiel Award lectures at Brandeis on April 24, 2023 and will be given a cash prize and a medallion to accompany the award.