National Academy of Medicine

Three National Academy of Medicine Members Awarded 2016 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience

June 03, 2016

On June 2, 2016, the Norwegian Academy of Sciences announced the 2016 Kavli Prize Laureates in Astrophics, Nanoscience, and Neuroscience. Eve Marder, Michael Merzenich, and Carla Shatz, all NAM Members, were awarded the Kavli Prize in neuroscience for their research on the flexibility and plasticity of the human adult brain.

Over the past 40 years, Marder, Merzenich, and Shatz have challenged the long-held assumption that the human brain is hard-wired and inflexible in adulthood. Their research has provided a convincing view of a much more flexible human adult brain that is capable of remodeling.

In remarks during the awards announcement ceremony, Ole Petter Ottersen, Chairman of the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience stated, “Every taste, sight, sound, smell, and experience, changes our brain. Neurons make new connections with sensory experience and prune others. Our brains have remarkable capacity to adapt to changes in the environment and to form memories. What we also know now is that our personalities and behaviors typically remain fixed as we pass through life. It is the elucidation—this delicate balance—between plasticity and stability that we celebrate in the 2016 Kavli Prize for neuroscience. Eve Marder, Michael Merzenich, and Carla Shatz have unraveled how the brain changes as we develop in the womb and into adulthood. The picture of how we experience the world around us has been utterly redrawn.”

The Kavli Prize is a partnership between the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Kavli Foundation, and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. Kavli Prize recipients are chosen biennially by three prize committees comprised of distinguished international scientists recommended by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the French Academy of Sciences, the Max Planck Society, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society. The prize consists of one million US dollars in each field, and the laureates are given a gold medal and scroll. The 2016 Kvali Prizes will be awarded on September 6, 2016 in Oslo, Norway. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon will present the prizes to the laureates. To learn more about the Kavli Prize, please visit

Watch the June 2, 2016 Prize Announcement Ceremony >>