Designed to acknowledge the most original and important accomplishments in Neuroscience research at WashU by a predoctoral student or postdoctoral fellow

Congratulations to the 2024 winners!

Yun Chen

Graduate student, Biochemistry Biophysics and Structural Biology Program

Holtzman lab, WashU Neurology

Caitlin Dingwall

MD/PhD student, Molecular Genetics and Genomics Program

Milbrandt lab, WashU Genetics

Yun and Caitlin will each receive a cash award of $1,000. The applications this year were outstanding across the board, showcasing the incredible neuroscience research here at WashU!

Special thanks to the Departments of Neurology and Neuroscience, the McDonnell Centers for Neuroscience, the Office of Neuroscience Research, Erica Gibbs, and our judges.

Congratulations to all of the 2024 Finalists!

  • Michael Fitzpatrick, Daniel Kerschensteiner lab (WashU Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences)
  • Yun Chen, David Holtzman lab (WashU Neurology)
  • Charles Pfeifer, PhD, Raj Apte lab (WashU Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences)
  • Leon Smyth, PhD, Jonathan Kipnis lab (WashU Pathology & Immunology)
  • Kia Barclay, Tristan Li lab (WashU Neuroscience)
  • “Liza” Yelyzaveta Bessonova, Barani Raman lab (WashU Biomedical Engineering)
  • Caitlin Dingwall, PhD, Jeffrey Milbrandt lab (WashU Genetics)
  • Saul Bello Rojas, Martha Bagnall lab (WashU Neuroscience)
  • Maria Gonzalez-Aponte, Erik Herzog lab (WashU Biology)
  • Aidan Schneider, Keith Hengen lab (WashU Biology)
  • Runnan Cao, PhD, Shuo Wang lab (WashU Radiology)


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.

O’Leary Lecture

Each year, a past O’Leary Prize recipient is invited to be a guest judge and present the O’Leary Lecture.  The guest judge,  Joseph Castellano (Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai), will deliver the O’Leary Lecture on Wednesday March 13, 2024.

More on the O’Leary Lecture