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Sussex neuroscientist secures prestigious award

A neuroscientist at the University of Sussex has received a prestigious award from the Wellcome Trust.

Professor Tom Baden secured a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award to support the project ‘How to connect an eye to a brain’.

The awards are designed to enable researchers with a compelling research vision to tackle the most important questions in science.

Professor Baden said: “I’m delighted to receive this award. Thanks to all involved, including our key collaborators on this project, as well as the reviewers for their enthusiastic support! We are looking forward to five more years of exciting retina science in our favourite little critter, the larval zebrafish.”

Professor Baden and his lab explore how animals’ retinas are built to process the environment around them. This provides a greater understanding of how biological vision and neurone networks work, and ultimately how the brain can evolve.

For his new project, Professor Baden will primarily work on larval zebrafish to investigate how retinal ganglion cells (the eye’s sole output channel) communicate visual signals from the retina to early visual centres of the brain, and how this information is in turn used to drive behaviour.

The Wellcome Trust Investigator Awards were introduced in 2011 to provide additional funding for researchers who already hold academic positions. The scheme’s purpose is to give exceptional researchers the freedom and support they need to address the most important questions in science.

Professor Tom Baden joined the University of Sussex in 2016 as a Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience and in 2018 was promoted to Professor. In the past few years he has received multiple prestigious prizes and awards, including the Eppendorf Young Investigator Award, the Sir Philipp Leverhulme Prize, the Lister Institute Research Fellow Prize and Nature’s Driving Global Impact Prize.

By: Jessica Gowers
Last updated: Thursday, 7 May 2020