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

2019 O'Leary Prize Winners

Kow Essuman

MD/PhD candidate
Milbrandt Lab

Anish Mitra

MD/PhD candidate
Raichle Lab

2019 Finalists

Alex Russo, DiAntonio Lab
Deng Pan, Mackinnon Lab
Donghoon Lee, Holy Lab
Tamara Markovic, Moron-Concepcion Lab

Moises Arriaga, Han Lab
Chad Donahue, Van Essen Lab
Aaron Mickle, Gereau Lab
Elinor Harrison, Earhart Lab

Save the dates!


O’Leary Prize Competition

March 3, 2020
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Erlanger Auditorium, McDonnell Sciences 1st floor (Medical Campus)


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.

View past recipients of the O’Leary Prize

Instructions to apply for the 42nd Annual O'Leary Prize

Spring 2019 application closed! Stay tuned for Spring 2020 instructions!

Current Washington University predoctoral students, postdoctoral fellows and residents are invited to submit a summary of their work to Chris Weihl and Shonda Cunningham The submission must arrive no later than 5pm, Friday February 15th, 2019.

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. If the work to be presented is published, in press, recently accepted for publication or currently in review, please note this information on the coversheet.

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 5th, 2019 from 1:00-5:00pm, Erlanger Auditorium.

Note that Eric Leuthardt, MD (Washington University), a former O’Leary Prize winner, will be the guest judge for this year’s O’Leary Competition. Dr. Leuthardt will give the O’Leary Lecture on Wednesday, March 6th, 2019.