On 18th October 2019, the prestigious Remedios Caro Almela Award in developmental Neurobiology was awarded to Professor Oscar Marín, Director of the Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, King’s College London at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Valencia, Spain. The decision of international jury of the IX Remedios Caro Almela Award in Developmental Neurobiology to award the prize to Oscar Marín was unanimous.
The Remedios Caro Almela Prize in Developmental Neurobiology recognises the work of a European researcher who has carried out outstanding scientific research in the field. The jury highlighted Marín’s contributions to understanding the organisation of neuronal circuits in the cerebral cortex, particularly the mechanisms that control migration, acquisition of neuronal phenotype and the connectivity of cortical interneurons.
Oscar Marín, the first Spanish citizen to be awarded the prize, received the Ramón y Cajal medal from the Royal Spanish Academy of Sciences in 2017. He has been interested in the study of the balance between excitation and neuronal inhibition during development throughout his research career, which is crucial for the formation of the circuits enabling cortical function. The breakdown of the excitation-inhibition balance leads to functional abnormalities in the cerebral cortex and has been implicated in psychiatric and neurological disorders. The jury of the prize valued his work as essential to begin to understand the deep-seated causes of some disorders and, eventually, allow the development of therapies that not only address the symptoms of these devastating disorders, but their underlying causes.
The jury of the prize is composed of Juan Jose Ruiz Martínez, Chair of the UMH; David Wilkinson, The Francis Crick Institute; Wolfgang Wurst, Director of the Institute of Developmental Genetics, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München; Salvador Martínez, Director of the Institute of Neurosciences and Constantino Sotelo, INSERM Vision Institute, Paris.
The Chair of Neurobiology, ‘Remedios Caro Almela’ was created in 2000 as a result of the philanthropic initiative of Fernando Martínez Ramos and his family, as a tribute to his deceased wife, Remedios Caro Almela. The Chair was created within the framework of the Institute of Neurosciences, located on the campus of Sant Joan d'Alacant of the UMH, and aims to promote research on the nervous system at its molecular, cellular and system levels, both in health and disorder. The Caro Almela Remedios Award for research in Developmental Neurobiology was created in 2006 as part of the activities of the Chair.