Alt Text
Office of Neuroscience Research > Education and Events > The James L. O'Leary Prize for Excellence in Neuroscience Research

The James L. O'Leary Prize for Excellence in Neuroscience Research

Congratulations to the 2017 O'Leary Prize winners!

  • Xitong Liang, labs of Paul Taghert and Tim Holy (Department of Neuroscience)
  • Nai-Wen Tien, lab of Daniel Kerschensteiner (Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences)

The 2017 winners were selected based on finalists' presentations at the O'Leary Competition on Tuesday March 7, 2017.

Finalists for the 2017 Competition

Claudia Cantoni, lab of Laura Piccio (Department of Neurology)

Matheus Victor, lab of Andrew Yoo (Department of Developmental Biology)

Xitong Liang, labs of Paul Taghert and Tim Holy (Department of Neuroscience)

Alexis Hill, lab of Yehuda Ben-Shahar (Department of Biology)

Srinath Nizampatnam, lab of Barani Raman (Department of Biomedical Engineering)

Matt (Chak Foon) Tso, lab of Erik Herzog (Department of Biology)

Jonathan Lin, lab of Rajendra Apte (Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences)

Nai-Wen Tien, lab of Daniel Kerschensteiner (Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences)

Yang Shi, lab of David Holtzman (Neurology)

Instructions to apply for the 40th Annual O'Leary Prize (Spring 2017) - NOW CLOSED

Two prizes of $1000 each will be awarded for the most original and important accomplishments in neuroscience research by a predoctoral or postdoctoral fellow.  Current Washington University predoctoral students, postdoctoral fellows and residents are invited to submit a summary of their work to Chris Weihl, The submission must arrive no later than 5pm, February 13th, 2017.

The summary should include a title page indicating the applicant's name, preceptor, campus box, telephone number, email address and status (e.g. graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, resident).  The summary itself should begin with a 250 word abstract and be no longer than 5 double spaced pages, size 11 font, including figures but not references.  A separate listing of no more than 10 references is allowed.  In addition, a letter from the applicant’s preceptor attesting to the contents of the summary should accompany the submission.  A letter of recommendation is not needed; just attestation to the work.


Dr. James L. O'Leary joined the faculty of the Department of Anatomy at Washington University in 1928.  In 1948 he joined the faculty of the Department of Neurology, becoming Head of the Department in 1946, remaining until 1971.  For many years, neuroscience research at Washington University was conducted by Dr. O'Leary and his colleagues.  They developed an interdisciplinary and interactive approach to the study of the nervous system that continues today.  Dr. O'Leary's colleagues, admirers, and former students established a fund in 1975 to award a prize each year to a graduate student and/or postdoctoral fellow or resident for excellence in neuroscience research.  For the full list of previous O'Leary Prize winners, please see below.

Application format:

Page 1: Coversheet & Details

Page 2: Attestation

Page 3: 250 Word Abstract

Page 4-8: Research Summary and an emphasis on the innovation and impact of the study

Page 9: References

Application should come in one file, pdf preferred.

All work to be considered for the prizes must have been carried out by the applicant while a student, resident, or fellow at Washington University.  From the submitted summaries the Selection Committee will choose those to be presented at the O’Leary Prize program on Tuesday afternoon, March 7th, 2017 from 1:00-5:00pm, Erlanger Auditorium.  Note that Dr. John Fryer (Mayo, Jacksonville) will be the guest judge for this year's O'Leary Competition. 

O'Leary Prize Recipients
(G=Grad Student; P=Post Doc)



Lab preceptor/Department


Timothy Lauman (G)
Sarah Ackerman (G)

Steve Petersen - Neurology
Kelly Monk - Developmental Biology

Jennifer Enright (G)
Brandon Holmes (G)

Joseph Corbo - Pathology & Immunology
Marc Diamond - Neurology

Josiah Gerdts (G)
Michael Vasek (G)

Jeff Milbrandt - Genetics
Robyn Klein - Internal Medicine

Cindy Montana (G)
Jonathan Power (G)

Joseph Corbo - Pathology & Immunology
Steve Petersen - Neurology

Travis Hage (G)

Steve Nelson (P)

Larry Salkoff - Anatomy & Neurobiology

Kathleen McDermott - Psychology


Joseph Castellano (G)

Cong (Lucy) Li (G)

David Holtzman - Neurology

Naren Ramanan - Anatomy & Neurobiology


Albert Misko (G)

Julian Meeks (P)

Robert Baloh - Neurology

Timothy Holy - Anatomy & Neurobiology


Bradley Miller (G)

Jin-shan Wang (P)

Aaron DiAntonio - Developmental Biology

Vladimir Kevalov - Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences


Rebecca Hendrickson (G)

YanGang Sun (P)

Timothy Holy - Anatomy & Neurobiology

Zhuo-Feng Chen - Anesthesiology


Jacob Nadler (G)
Yong Gu (P)

Greg DeAngelis - Anatomy & Neurobiology
Greg DeAngelis/Dora Angelaki - Anatomy & Neurobiology


Richard Daniels (G)
Catherine Collins (P)

Aaron DiAntonio - Molec. Biol. & Pharmacology
Aaron DiAntonio - Molec. Biol. & Pharmacology


John Fryer (G)
Ethan Graf (G)
Botir Sagdullaev (P)

David Holtzman - Neurology
Ann Marie Craig - Anatomy & Neurobiology
Peter Lukasiewicz - Ophthalmology & Vis. Sci.


Jerry Nguyenkim (S)
Eric Leuthardt (P)

Greg DeAngelis - Anatomy & Neurobiology
Dan Moran - Biomedical Engineering


Terrance Kumer (G)
Belen Hurle (P)

Josh Sanes - Anatomy & Neurobiology
David Ornitz - Molec. Biol. & Pharmacology


Kit Wong (G)
Mark Walsh (G)
Jin-Yuan Sun (P)

Yi Rao - Anatomy & Neurobiology
Jeff Lichtman - Anatomy & Neurobiology
Ling-Gang Wu - Anesthesiology


Charles Harris (G)
Robert Burgess (P)

Eugene Johnson - Neurology
Josh Sanes - Anatomy & Neurobiology


Jeff Mumm (G)
Malu Tansey (P)

Raphael Kopan - Molec. Biol. & Pharmacology
Eugene Johnson - Neurology


William M. Kelley (G)
John Sun (P)

Steve Petersen - Neurology
Steve Highstein & Barbara Bohne - Otolaryngology


Rachel Easton (G)
Roberta Chiesa (p)

Eugene Johnson - Neurology
David Harris - Cell Biology & Physiology


Lisa Evans (G)
Bruce Patton (P)

Paul Bridgman - Anatomy & Neurobiology
Joshua Sanes -Anatomy & Neurobiology


Paul Kotzbauer (G)
Janice Brunstrom (P)

Jeff Milbrandt - Pathology and Eugene Johnson - Neurology
Alan Pearlman - Neurology


Randy Buckner (G)
Anatoli Lopatin (P)

Steve Petersen - Neurology
Colin Nichols - Cell Biology


Steve Mennerick (G)
Inmaculada Silos-Santiago (P)

Charles Zorumski - Psychiatry
William Snider Neurology


Thomas Carmichael (G)

Joel Price - Anatomy & Neurobiology


Maria Donoghue (G)

John Merlie - Molec. Biol. & Pharmacology and Josh Sanes - Anatomy & Neurobiology


John Butman (G)
Andrew Hershey (G)

Nobuo Suga - Biology
James Krause - Anatomy & Neurobiology


David Martin (G)
Alison Strack (G)

Eugene Johnson - Neurology, Molec. Biol & Pharm
Arthur Loewy - Anatomy & Neurobiology


Dale Hunter (G)

Anatomy & Neurobiology


Mark Rich (G)
Stephen Senft (G)

Jeff Lichtman - Anatomy & Neurobiology
Tom Woolsey  - Neurosurgery


Jonathan Mink (G)
Christine Wilcox (G)

Tom Thach - Anatomy & Neurobiology


Megumi Taniuchi (G)



John Olsen (G)
Ted Usden (G)

Nobuo Suga - Biology
Gerry Fischbach - Anatomy & Neurobiology


Pamala Manning (G)
Jeffrey Neil (G)

Arthur Loewy - Anatomy & Neurobiology


Steven Massey (G)
Eric Rubin (G)

Dale Purves - Physiology & Biophyiscs


James Schwob (G)

Joel Price - Anatomy & Neurobiology


Winthrop Sullivan, III (G)

Nobuo Suga - Biology


Michael Ariel (G)

Physiology & Biophysics


Jonathan Siegel (G)
Brent Stanfield (G)

Charles Molnar - Physiology & Biophysics
W. Maxwell Cowan - Anatomy & Neurobiology


Jeff Lichtman (G)

Dale Purves - Physiology & Biophysics