School of Medicine

Michael Bruchas Receives the Jacob P. Waletzky Award

From the Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will present the Jacob P. Waletzky Award to Michael Bruchas, PhD, of the Washington University School of Medicine, at Neuroscience 2018, SfN’s annual meeting and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health. The award is given to a young scientist whose independent research has led to significant conceptual and empirical contributions to the understanding of drug addiction. Recipients receive a $25,000.

“On behalf of SfN, it is my pleasure to congratulate Dr. Bruchas for his leadership in the integration of stress biology, opioid signaling, and drug abuse-related behaviors, and for his outstanding contributions to our understanding of the neural circuits responsible for addiction,” SfN President Richard Huganir said.

Bruchas’ studies illuminating the role of kappa-opioid receptors and signaling in stress, depression, and negative affect have been crucial to the understanding of how these systems affect behavior, especially substance use and abuse. His work has advanced the understanding of the circuitry and cell biology critical to the development of drug dependence and could help to inform the development of new treatments for addiction, depression, and anxiety.

In addition to his foundational discoveries, Bruchas has taken a leading role in introducing new techniques for the study of brain function in awake, behaving rodents, applying cutting-edge technology to explore fundamental questions in the neurobiology of addiction. He has also developed sophisticated bioengineering tools to enhance the use of optogenetic techniques, with an eye toward clinical applications. His laboratory has introduced new wireless, optofluidic methods for combining pharmacology with optogenetics. Use of the “Bruchas modification” is opening new experimental possibilities and broadening even further the potential applications of optogenetics.

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is an organization of nearly 36,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and the nervous system.