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 post docs 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 selected to achieve broad representation of expertise and scientific approach.  These awards are made possible by support from the McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience, and the McDonnell Center for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology.

2019 Thach Award Winners!

Short Talks 

Yang Shi, PhD (Holtzman lab, WashU Neurology)

“Microglia drive neurodegeneration and mediate APOE’s effect on neurodegeneration in a tauopathy mouse model”


Tamara Markovic (Neuroscience Program; Moron-Concepcion lab, WashU Anesthesiology)

“Dissecting the role of dorsal hippocampus in reinstatement of drug seeking behavior”

2019 Poster finalists:

  • Loc Thang, MD, PhD (McCall lab, St Louis College of Pharmacy/WashU Anesthesiology) 
    “Norepinephrine inhibits sensory neuron TRPV1 signaling in a sex-and stress-dependent manner”
  • Sineadh Conway, PhD (Al-Hasani/McCall labs, St Louis College of Pharmacy/WashU Anesthesiology)
    “A novel approach for electrochemical detection of opioid peptides”
  • Peppar Cyr (Neuroscience Program; Smyser/Rogers labs, WashU Neurology/WashU Psychiatry)
    “Neonatal default mode network connectivity relates to autism symptoms at ages 2 and 5 years”
  • Alexander Cammack (Neuroscience Program; Miller lab, WashU Neurology)
    “Transposon-mediated, cell type-specific transcription factor and enhancer recording in the mouse brain”
  • Rishabh Chandak (Biomedical Engineering Program; Raman lab, WashU Biomedical Engineering)
    “Odor valence encoding in the antennal lobe and its behavioral correlates”

Previous winners of Thach Awards


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

Poster finalists:

  • Kristen Funk, PhD (Post doc; Klein Lab) “CSFR1 signaling is required for local restimulation of antiviral CD8+ T cells during viral encephalitis”
  • Aaron Mickle, PhD (Post doc; Gereau Lab) “Wireless Closed-loop Optogenetics-Based System for Peripheral Neuromodulation”
  • Peter Wang (Graduate student, Immunology Program; Randolph/Milbrandt Labs) “Identification of shared ontogeny and gene expression underlying PNS macrophages and CNS microglia”


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

Poster Finalists:

  • Jen-Chun (Jim) Hsiang (Graduate student, Neuroscience Program; Kerschensteiner Lab) “Local processing in neurites of VGluT3-expressing amacrine cells differentially organizes visual information”
  • Aaron D. Mickle, PhD (Post doc; Gereau lab) “Closed Loop Wireless Monitoring and Optogenetic Modulation of Bladder Function”
  • Monica Xiong (Graduate student, Neuroscience Program; Holtzman Lab) “Anti-apoE antibodies reduced amyloid pathology by active recruitment of microglia in APPPS1- 21/apoE4 mice”
  • Dezhuang Ye (Graduate student, Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science Program; Chen Lab) “Focused ultrasound-enabled delivery of radiolabeled nanoclusters to the pons”


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


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


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