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Bill Kristan Honored with Award for Education in Neuroscience

October 12, 2015

By Kim McDonald

Bill Kristan

William Kristan, a distinguished professor of biology who directed UC San Diego's top-ranked Neurosciences Graduate Program from 1977 to 2004, will be honored by the Society for Neuroscience with  this year's Award for Education in Neuroscience.

The prize, which includes $5,000, recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to neuroscience education and training. The award will be presented at the society's annual meeting, Neuroscience 2015, in Chicago in mid-October.

"Dr. Kristan exemplifies what it truly means to be an educator, working diligently to connect students and faculty to shape neuroscience education for the better," said Steven Hyman, president of the society. "His dedication and enthusiasm for neuroscience deserves to be recognized, and his work has greatly inspired the next generation of scientists."

Kristan, a long-time faculty member in the Section of Neurobiology, was cited by the society for reshaping the Neurosciences Graduate Program's curriculum and uniting faculty and students across multiple institutes. As the director of the Neurosciences Graduate Program, Kristan established "Neurobiology Boot Camp," in which entering graduate students participate in a two-week intensive introductory course of lectures and hands-on exposure to a wide range of experimental techniques. "This course ensures that all students in the program have a broad understanding of neuroscience and also instills a strong sense of community among the student body that is carried with them throughout their graduate education," the society said.

The society also noted that as a faculty member for the neural systems and behavior course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., he trained students from around the world in the fundamental principles of neural circuitry. In his own lab, Kristan studies how neural networks in the brain are formed and how they work together to produce different behaviors.

Kristan received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and an assistant research biologist at UC Berkeley before coming to UC San Diego.