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GSBS faculty member Dr. Steve Massey awarded Brian Boycott Prize

October 03, 2012

Kimberly A. Mankiewicz, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Massey for Brian Boycott Prize

Dr. Massey (right) and Dr. Weiler receiving the Boycott Prize. 

GSBS faculty member Steve Massey, Ph.D., (Elizabeth Morford Professor and Research Director in the Ruiz Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the UTHealth Medical School) recently received the prestigious Brian Boycott Prize for achievement in retinal neuroscience. This distinction was awarded at the 11th Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) meeting on Retinal Neurobiology and Visual Processing in late July 2012 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  This biannual meeting attracts approximately 200 top-level vision scientists from around the world. Dr. Massey shared the award with Professor Reto Weiler from the University of Oldenburg in Germany 

The Brian Boycott Prize is awarded to those researchers that have made a significant contribution to the understanding of the retina and its role in vision processing. Both Dr. Massey and Dr. Weiler were recognized for their contribution to the understanding of electrical connections, also known as gap junctions, in the retina. Gap junctions are common in the central nervous system and they are particularly numerous in the retina. This may be the case because signal averaging and noise reduction, performed in neural networks coupled by gap junctions, are important in the early steps of visual processing. 

Brian Boycott was a leading English anatomist, Fellow of the Royal Society, and one of the founders of the field of retinal circuitry in the 1960s.  Dr. Boycott came to Houston several times to visit Dr. Massey’s lab in the early 1990s. The Boycott Prize was instituted in his honor after he died in 2000.