Mind Prize awarded to neuroscientist Antonio Fernandez-Ruiz

Neuroscientist Antonio Fernandez-Ruiz has been awarded a MIND Prize (Maximizing Innovation in Neuroscience Discovery) from the Pershing Square Foundation. The Foundation’s announcement said that the prize aims to “change the paradigm of neuroscience research by creating a community of next-frontier thinkers who can uncover a deeper understanding of the brain and cognition.” The seven 2024 prize winners will each receive $750,000, distributed over three years.

“Cognitive Disease Disorders are holisms – wholes bigger than the sum of their parts – requiring us to apply systems-based thinking across cellular, organismic and behavioral scales,” said Pershing Square Foundation Co-Trustee Neri Oxman. "The winners of the 2024 MIND Prize embody such system-based thinking in their work.”

Fernandez-Ruiz is the Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator in the Life Sciences and assistant professor of neurobiology and behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences. His work seeks to dissect the circuit and cell-type specific mechanisms of neural circuit dynamics that support memory processes, and how they became impaired in mouse models of brain diseases, with the aim of restoring memory deficits in mice and paving the road for future human applications.

His MIND Prize project is titled “Restoration of Pathological Neural Dynamics to Improve Cognition in Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Fernandez-Ruiz studied biology and physics at the Universities of Sevilla and Madrid in Spain. He earned his Ph.D. at the Complutense University of Madrid in 2015, investigating the biophysical basis of brain oscillations and developing mathematical tools to analyze them. During his postdoctoral work, in the laboratory of Gyorgy Buzsaki at New York University, he investigated the hippocampal network mechanisms of navigation and memory in behaving rodents and developed novel optogenetic methods for closed-loop manipulation of neural dynamics.

Linda B. Glaser is the news and media relations manager for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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		Antonio Fernandez Ruiz