The Nemko Prize recognizes a young neuroscientist for his or her PhD thesis that advances understanding of molecular, genetic, or cellular mechanisms underlying brain function, including higher function and cognition. Supported by The Nemko Family, the prize includes $2,500 plus complimentary registration and travel to SfN’s annual meeting, the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
“SfN congratulates Dr. Franke on both her PhD thesis and earning the Nemko Prize. Her project in vision research demonstrates the meticulousness in her work and holds promise for increasing our basic understanding of visual processing,” SfN President Eric Nestler said.
Franke completed her thesis, “Functional characterization of the excitatory pathways in the mouse inner retina,” at the Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN), at the University of Tübingen, and the Institute for Ophthalmic Research. With her thesis, she sought to obtain a complete sample of information sent from the eyes to the brain and to further understanding of how the retinal network disassembles complex visual input.
Previous research had mainly focused on individual retinal output neurons, but in Franke´s approach to this study, she aimed to record complete populations of neurons to capture the full functional diversity represented by parallel retinal output channels. The results of Franke’s research serve to increase the understanding of how the mammalian retina processes visual information, creating multiple parallel pathways in doing so, and provides insight into mechanisms of sensory processing.