Media Releases

University of Toronto Researcher Wins €1M Brain Prize – the “Nobel of Neuroscience”

March 2, 2016

Toron­to, ON — Pro­fes­sor Gra­ham Collingridge has been award­ed the world’s most valu­able prize for brain research.

Prof. Collingridge, Chair of the Depart­ment of Phys­i­ol­o­gy, was one of three recip­i­ents of the Brain Prize, award­ed by the Grete Lund­beck Euro­pean Brain Research Foun­da­tion in Den­mark, for his research into the mech­a­nisms of mem­o­ry.

The Brain Prize, which is wide­ly regard­ed as the “Nobel Prize for neu­ro­sci­en­tists”, is award­ed annu­al­ly, and this year Collingridge shares the one mil­lion Euro prize with Drs. Tim Bliss (Lon­don, Eng­land) and Richard Mor­ris (Edin­burgh, Scot­land). The award was announced on March 1, 2016.

Prof. Collingridge’s focus is on the brain mech­a­nism known as “long-term poten­ti­a­tion (LTP)” that under­pins the life-long plas­tic­i­ty of the brain. His dis­cov­er­ies, along with Drs. Bliss and Mor­ris, have rev­o­lu­tion­ized the approach to under­stand­ing how mem­o­ries are formed, retained and lost. Prof. Collingridge has been able to show the mech­a­nism by which LTP is induced, and has devel­oped and applied tech­niques to iden­ti­fy and describe sev­er­al of the key mol­e­cules respon­si­ble for this process.

“I am delight­ed to share this award,” says Prof. Collingridge, who is also senior inves­ti­ga­tor at the Lunen­feld-Tanen­baum Research Insti­tute, part of the Sinai Health Sys­tem. “Work­ing on the cel­lu­lar mech­a­nisms of learn­ing and mem­o­ry has been both rich­ly chal­leng­ing and intense­ly reward­ing for me. I am real­ly excit­ed about now trans­lat­ing dis­cov­er­ies about LTP into new treat­ments for demen­tia.”

Prof. Collingridge’s dis­cov­er­ies are par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant in the efforts to treat dis­eases such as Alzheimer’s, in which the effi­cien­cy of brain synaps­es is altered. His work has con­tributed to a med­ica­tion that tem­porar­i­ly slows down the pro­gres­sion of the dis­ease.

“Pro­fes­sor Collingridge’s achieve­ments under­score the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s strength in brain sci­ence,” says Pro­fes­sor Trevor Young, Dean of the Temer­ty Temer­ty Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine. “Gra­ham is a new­com­er to U of T. His deeply impres­sive body of work illus­trates our com­mit­ment to fun­da­men­tal neu­ro­science — and its trans­la­tion into research that will fight demen­tia and oth­er intractable brain dis­eases. I’m so pleased to con­grat­u­late Gra­ham on receiv­ing this inter­na­tion­al recog­ni­tion.”

Prof. Collingridge arrived in Toron­to in 2015 from Bris­tol, Eng­land, where he is also a pro­fes­sor of neu­ro­science in anato­my at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bris­tol. His lab is based at Mount Sinai Hos­pi­tal.

“Every­one at the Lunen­feld-Tanen­baum Research Insti­tute is tremen­dous­ly proud of Gra­ham for this amaz­ing recog­ni­tion,” says Jim Wood­gett, Direc­tor of the Sinai Health System’s Lunen­feld-Tanen­baum Research and a pro­fes­sor in U of T’s Depart­ment of Med­ical Bio­physics. “We were so pleased have attract­ed some­one of Graham’s cal­iber to the insti­tute last year, and I’m con­fi­dent that his research will con­tin­ue to fuel dis­cov­er­ies that impact people’s lives.”


Media con­tact:

Hei­di Singer
Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Media Rela­tions Spe­cial­ist
Temer­ty Temer­ty Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine
Office: 416–978-5811