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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

Save the date for the 39th Annual O'Leary Competition!

Tuesday March 1, 2016

Dr. Malu Tansey (Emory University) will be the guest judge for the 2016 O'Leary Competition.  Additionally, Dr. Tansey will give a seminar in the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology on Wednesday March 2, 2016.

Stay tuned for announcements for the 2016 competition.

***Winners of the 2015 O'Leary Competition***

Jennifer Enright (Grad student, Corbo lab, Pathology and Immunology) 
      "Dynamic spectral tuning of photoreceptors is mediated by Cyp27c1"

Brandon Holmes (Grad student, Diamond lab, Neurology)
      "Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans are the Neuronal Receptor for Proteopathic Seeds"

2015 finalists:
Christa Baker (Carlson Lab, Biology)
Matthew Brier (Ances Lab, Neurology)
Jennifer Enright (Corbo Lab, Pathology and Immunology)
Brandon Holmes (Diamond Lab, Neurology)
Jingfeng Li (Snyder Lab, Neurobiology)
Sarah Petersen (Monk Lab, Developmental Biology)
Vijay Samineni (Gereau Lab, Anesthesiology)
Yaming Wang (Colonna Lab, Pathology and Immunology)


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.

Instructions to apply (Spring 2015)

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 the research, including 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, 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.

Current Washington University predoctoral students, postdoctoral fellows and residents are invited to submit five copies of a summary of their work to Chris Weihl at Campus Box 8111 (or bring directly to Biotech 113).  Alternatively, an electronic file may be sent to The submission must arrive no later than 5pm, February 27th, 2015.


Finalists will present their work at the 38th Annual O'Leary Prize competition on Tuesday, March 31.  Jeffrey Neil (Harvard University) will be the guest O'Leary judge.


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



Lab preceptor/Department


Jennifer Enright (G)
Brandon Holmes (G)

Joseph Corpbo - 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