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Stanford, Harvard scientists to share $500,000 prize for work on new research technologies

04/20/2015 09:03 EDT | Updated 07/11/2015 05:59 EDT
ALBANY, N.Y. - Two scientists whose work on modern research technologies is expected to speed the pace of medical discoveries will share one of the richest prizes in medicine and science next month, officials at a New York hospital said Monday.

The $500,000 Albany Medical Center Prize in Biomedicine and Biomedical Research for 2015 will be awarded to Dr. Karl Deisseroth of Stanford University and Xiaoliang Sunney Xie of Harvard University and Peking University, where he is a visiting professor and director of the Biodynamics Optical Imaging Center.

Deisseroth is a professor of bioengineering and psychiatry and behavioural science. His work includes developing imaging technology that allows brain researchers to gain greater insight into a wide range of psychiatric diseases and other conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, Parkinson's disease and addiction.

Xie is a professor of chemistry and chemical biology whose imaging work has advanced the field of single-cell biology, yielding new information on how individual molecules can affect cellular life and human diseases. His experiments made it possible to examine previously invisible single molecules in living cells.

"These two prolific scientists saw a need for new technology to help move their research forward and then actually developed it," said Dr. Vincent Verdile, dean of Albany Medical College and chairman of the prize committee. "Researchers worldwide are now using their techniques, including novel imaging and sequencing, which are fast providing insights into previously mysterious biological functions, especially those in the brain."

The award has been given annually since 2001 to those who have altered the course of medical research. It was established by the late Morris "Marty" Silverman, a New York City businessman. It will be formally presented May 15 in Albany.

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