The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is pleased to announce that Gerald M. Edelman, MD, PhD, Nobel Laureate, Director of The Neurosciences Institute and President of Neurosciences Research Foundation, will be a Potomac Institute for Policy Studies Navigator Award winner for 2010. Dr. Edelman and fellow awardees will be honored at a banquet at the Willard Hotel, Washington, DC, on October 21.
Dr. Edelman is Director of The Neurosciences Institute and President of Neurosciences Research Foundation, a publicly supported not-for-profit organization that is the Institute’s parent. Separately, he is Professor at The Scripps Research Institute and Chairman of the Department of Neurobiology at that institution. His early studies focused on the structure, diversity, and function of antibodies. In 1972, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on antibodies, which transformed our understanding of the immune response.
His subsequent work led to the discovery of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs), which have been found to guide the fundamental processes by which an animal achieves its shape and form and by which nervous systems are built. To understand higher brain functions, Dr. Edelman and his colleagues designed and constructed a series of mobile devices with simulated brains. These brain-based devices (BBDs) w ere shown to be capable of learning, operant conditioning, and episodic memory. Dr. Edelman has also formulated a detailed theory to explain the development and organization of higher brain functions. This theory was presented in his volume Neural Darwinism (Basic Books, New York, 1987). More recently, he described a theory of consciousness in his book Wider Than the Sky: The Phenomenal Gift of Consciousness (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2004). His latest book, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge (Yale University Press), appeared in October 2006.
Dr. Edelman was born in New York City in 1929. He earned his BS degree at Ursinus College and an MD at the University of Pennsylvania. He spent a year at the Johnson Foundation of Medical Physics, and after a medical house officership at the Massachusetts General Hospital, he served as a captain in the Army Medical Corps. In 1960 he earned his PhD at The Rockefeller Institute (now University). In addition to the Nobel Prize, Dr. Edelman has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including many honorary degrees. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and several foreign societies, including the Academy of Sciences, Institute of France. He is the author of over 500 research publications.
The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies' Navigator Awards are presented to members of Congress and to representatives of the executive branch, industry and academia in recognition of their distinguished contributions in the arena of science and technology. The Navigator Award is named as a tribute to those leaders in science and technology who act as pathfinders in the pursuit of knowledge. Past recipients include: Dr. Rita Colwell, Dr. Charles Herzfeld, VADM Paul Gaffney, Dr. Tony Tether, Dr. John Marburger, Dr. John Young, Senator Pat Roberts, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Senator Jeff Bingaman, Congressman Pete Hoekstra, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Congressman Tom Davis, Congressman Sherwood Boehlert, General Al Gray, In-Q-Tel CEO Mr. Gilman Louie, Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Mr. John Rennie, and other distinguished thought leaders.