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American Association of Anatomists awards Young Investigators for life-changing Research

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BETHESDA, MD (March 29, 2016) – The American Association of Anatomists (AAA) is honored to announce the 2016 Young Investigator Award winners. All awards will be presented during the Closing Awards Ceremony at AAA's 2016 annual meeting at Experimental Biology (EB) in San Diego, CA. The ceremony is being held at The Marriot Marquis San Diego Marina on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, at 7pm.

Young Investigator awards recognize investigators in the early stages of their careers who have made important contributions to biomedical science through their research in cell/molecular biology, comparative neuroanatomy, developmental biology, or the morphological sciences.

The 2016 Young Investigator Award winners are:

H. W. Mossman Award in Developmental Biology

Michael Jenkins, Ph.D, of Case Western Reserve University, will be honored with a plaque for his early contributions to the field of developmental biology. Dr. Jenkins will also present a lecture, "Optical Tools to Assess Heart Development," on Sunday, April 3rd at EB. Dr. Jenkins' lab is focused on both developing and applying biomedical optics tools and techniques in cardiovascular applications using the primary tools of optical coherence tomography (OCT), optical mapping (OM), and optical control (OC). His talk will highlight the use of optical tools to understand the influence of hemodynamics in development as an important step towards determining congenital heart defect mechanisms and ultimately developing earlier treatments.

R.R. Bensley Award in Cell Biology

Andrew Holland, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will be honored for his early contributions to the field of anatomy through discovery, ingenuity and publication in the field of cell biology. He will present a lecture, "Deciphering How Cells Count: Molecular Control of Centrosome Copy Number," on Monday April 4th at EB. Dr. Holland's lab is interested in molecular mechanisms that control accurate chromosome distribution and the role that mitotic errors play in human health and disease. His EB talk will focus on deducing the engineering principles that allow cells to "count" the number of centrosomes produced in each cell cycle. The insights gained have implications for our understanding of cellular homeostasis and how the centrosome function may be manipulated for human benefit.

Morphological Sciences Award

Casey Holliday, Ph.D., of the University of Missouri School Of Medicine, will be honored for his important contributions to biomedical science through research in the morphological sciences. He will present a lecture "Exploring Cranial Functional Morphology and Evolution through the Jaws of Alligators," Monday April 4th at EB. His talk focuses on recently discovered findings that alligators and related crocodilian species have a previously unknown second jaw joint that helps to distribute the extreme force of their bite, which is the most powerful of any living animal. The finding raises new questions about the evolution of our own meager-by-comparison jaws and could potentially lead to a better understanding of common jaw disorders.

C.J. Herrick Award in Neuroanatomy

Hillel Adesnik, Ph.D., of the University of California, Berkley will be honored for his contributions to the field of comparative neuroanatomy. He will give a lecture, "New Approaches and Insights into Cortical Microcircuits" on Tuesday, April 5th at EB. The goal of Dr. Adesnik's laboratory is to reveal the neural basis of perception. More specifically, his team would like to understand exactly how cortical microcircuits process sensory information to drive behavior. His talk will highlight a recently developed microscope capable of observing–and manipulating–neural activity in the brains of live animals at the scale of a single cell with millisecond precision. The device, which uses lasers to create holographic images within the brain, is envisioned as a "Rosetta Stone" to crack the code on how brains work.

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About AAA: The American Association of Anatomists (AAA) was founded by Joseph Leidy in Washington, D.C. in 1888 for the "advancement of anatomical science." Today, via research, education, and professional development activities, AAA serves as the professional home for an international community of biomedical researchers and educators focusing on the structural foundation of health and disease.

About Experimental Biology (EB): EB is an annual meeting comprised of over 14,000 scientists representing six sponsoring societies and multiple guest societies. Primary focus areas include anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, nutrition and pharmacology. EB is open to all members of the sponsoring and guest societies and nonmembers interested in the latest research impacting life sciences. Attendees represent scientists, academic institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations and private corporations.

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