In recognition of William Thomas (Tom) Thach, MD, a longstanding member of the Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology.


Tom was a pioneering researcher on the function of the cerebellum, a part of the brain responsible for coordination of movement.  He was recognized internationally for his scientific contributions.  He was a beloved mentor and friend.  Tom loved hiking, camping, canoeing, hunting, reading literature and poetry, hosting feasts of wild game, and playing music with family, friends, and post docs in his band Taum Sauk.  He is long-remembered for his contribution to the aesthetic of numerous Neuroscience Retreats, providing live vocals and strings.

Learn more about Tom

The Tom Thach Award was initiated in 2014 to honor Tom’s contribution to science and to the Annual Neuroscience Retreat.  Grad students and postdocs are eligible to compete, and winners are chosen from short talks and poster presentations at the Retreat.  Presentations are evaluated by panels of faculty members who are selected to achieve broad representation of expertise and scientific approach.  These awards are made possible by support from the McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience, the McDonnell Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, and the Office of Neuroscience Research (ONR).

Congratulations to the

2023 Thach Awards Winners and Finalists!

Short Talks

Maria Gonzalez

Graduate student, Neuroscience Program
Herzog lab, WashU Biology

“Sensitivity to the chemotherapy agent Temozolomide depends on circadian time of treatment in murine models of glioblastoma”

Ursula Tooley, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Scholar
Rogers and Smyser lab, WashU Psychiatry and Neurology

“Prenatal environment is associated with the pace of cortical network development over the first 3 years of life”


Kia Barclay

Graduate student, Neuroscience Program
Li lab, WashU Neuroscience

“An inducible genetic tool for tracking and manipulating specific microglial states in development and disease”

Lisa Gorham

Graduate student, Neuroscience Program
Rogers and Smyser lab, WashU Psychiatry and Neurology

“Varied patterns of cortical expansion between very preterm infants and full term infants from birth to 9/10 years of age”

Talk Finalists

  • Ryan Bowen (Biomedical Engineering Program; Lee lab, WashU Neurology) “Optical Imaging Measures Predict Functional Recovery after Stroke”
  • JinChao Hou, PhD (Colonna lab, WashU Pathology & Immunology) “Antibody-mediated targeting of human microglial LILRB4 attenuates amyloid-dependent pathology”
  • Nischal Khanal (Imaging Science Program; Bauer lab, WashU Radiology) “Light-Based Motor Mapping of Multiple Limbs in Mice Using Deep Learning Reveals Coordinated and Behaviorally Relevant Movements”
  • Tassia Mangetti Goncalves, PhD (Zhao lab, WashU Genetics/Neurology) “Mammalian Whole Genome-Wide Cis-Regulatory Network Involved in Neurodevelopmental and Neurodegenerative Diseases”
  • Julia Pai (Neuroscience Program; Monosov lab, WashU Neuroscience) “Dermal laser stimulation to quantitatively study motivation and decision-making”
  • Anupama Tiwari, PhD (Ashrafi lab, WashU Cell Biology & Physiology) “Sirtuin 3 sustains metabolic plasticity of neurotransmission during glucose deprivation through post-translational regulation of mitochondrial pyruvate carrier”
  • Wangchao Xu, PhD (Kipnis lab, WashU Pathology & Immunology) “A novel immune modulator IM33 mediates a glia-gut-neuronal axis that controls lifespan”
  • Lite Yang (Neuroscience Program; Gereau lab, WashU Anesthesiology) “A highly scalable retrograde AAV approach for multiplexed visualization and simultaneous single-cell profiling of neuronal projections”

Poster Finalists

  • Reshma Bhagat, PhD (Karch lab, WashU Psychiatry) “Long non-coding RNA SNHG8 drives stress granule formation in tauopathies”
  • Ruiqi Chen (Neuroscience Program; Ching and Braver labs, WashU Electrical & Systems Engineering and Psychological & Brain Sciences) “Resting state networks embed anatomically reliable nonlinear dynamics”
  • Hannah DeVore (Biomedical Engineering Program; Culver lab, WashU Radiology) “Wearable Diffuse Optical Tomography Combines Resolution, Portability, and Freedom of Movement”
  • Eileen Lynch, PhD (Weihl lab, WashU Neurology) “TDP-43 seeding and aggregation in skeletal muscle”

Thanks to faculty members who served as judges for the short talks and the posters, and to the the McDonnell Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience and the Office of Neuroscience Research , for making the awards possible.

Previous winners of Thach Awards


  • Short talks: Zelun Wang (Neuroscience Program; Williams and Apte labs, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences)
    “Energetic diversity of retinal ganglion cells and implications for neurodegeneration”
  • Posters: Keran Yang (Neuroscience Program; Kepecs lab, Neuroscience)
    “Context and location regulate the effects of optogenetic stimulation of the superior colliculus”


  • Short talks: Ryan Raut (Neuroscience Program; Raichle lab, Radiology)
    “Brain state evolves along a spatiotemporal cycle”
  • Posters: Yifan Wu (Neuroscience Program; Papouin lab, Neuroscience)
    “Uncovering the role of astrocytic a7nAChR in cognitive behaviors”


  • Kalyan Tripathy (Neuroscience Program; Culver lab, Radiology)
    “Brain mapping in preschool-age children with high-density diffuse optical tomography”
  • Yvan Vachez, PhD (Creed lab, Anesthesiology)
    “Ventral arkypallidal neurons inhibit accumbal firing to promote reward consumption”
  • Dana Klatt Shaw, PhD (Mokalled lab, Developmental Biology)
    “Localized EMT reprograms glial progenitors to promote spinal cord repair”


  • Short Talks: Yang Shi, PhD (Holtzman lab, Neurology)
    “Microglia drive neurodegeneration and mediate APOE’s effect on neurodegeneration in a tauopathy mouse model”
  • Posters: Tamara Markovic (Neuroscience Program; Moron-Concepcion lab, Anesthesiology)
    “Dissecting the role of dorsal hippocampus in reinstatement of drug seeking behavior”


  • Short Talks: Hailun Li (Neuroscience Program; DiAntonio lab, Developmental Biology)
    “A neuromodulatory circuit regulating the glial capacity to buffer K+”
  • Posters: Weikang Shi (Neuroscience Program; Padoa-Schioppa lab, Neuroscience)
    “Establishing Causal Links between Neural Activity in Orbitofrontal Cortex and Economic Choices”


  • Short Talks: Alex Russo (Neuroscience Program; DiAntonio lab, Developmental Biology) 
    “Highwire promotes efficient synaptic transmission at the larval NMJ by targeting dNMNAT”
  • Posters: Kelly Hill (Neuroscience Program; Bonni lab, Neuroscience)
    “Influence of Neurogenesis Timing on Cerebellar Circuitry”


  • Short Talks: Xitong Liang (Neuroscience Program; Taghert and Holy labs, Neuroscience)
    “Neural mechanisms transform synchronized circadian timing into multiple daily outputs”
  • Posters: Yang Shi (Neuroscience Program; Holtzman lab, Neurology)
    “Effect of ApoE on tau pathogenesis and tau-mediated neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease”


  • Short Talks: Elinor Harrison (Movement Science Program; Earhart lab, Physical Therapy) 
    “Feasibility of Singing to Improve Gait Measures in Parkinson’s Disease”
  • Posters:  Andrew Kraft (Graduate student, Neuroscience Program; Lee lab, Neurology)
    “Sensory deprivation following cortical focal ischemia facilitates remapping and accelerates behavioral recovery”


  • Short Talks: Matheus Victor (Graduate student, Neuroscience Program; Yoo lab, Developmental Biology) 
    “Generation of Human Striatal Neurons by MicroRNA-Dependent Direct Conversion of Fibroblasts”