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Professor Reto Weiler and Dr. Steve Massey receive the Brian Boycott Prize.

Dr. Steve Massey, Elizabeth Morford Professor and Research Director in the Ruiz Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, recently received the prestigious Brian Boycott Prize for career achievement in retinal neuroscience.

He received the award at the 11thFederation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) meeting on Retinal Neurobiology and Visual Processing in Steamboat Springs, Colo.  This biannual meeting attracts approximately 200 top-level vision scientists from around the world.

Massey, who is also on faculty of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, shared the award with Professor Reto Weiler from the University of Oldenburg in Oldenburg, Germany.

The Brian Boycott Prize is awarded to those researchers who have made a significant contribution to the understanding of the retina and its role in vision processing. Both Massey and Weiler were recognized for their contributions 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 because signal averaging and noise reduction, performed in neural networks coupled by gap junctions, are important in the early steps of visual processing.

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

Founded in 1912, the goal of the FASEB is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to its member societies and collaborative advocacy.

Kimberly Mankiewicz, Ph.D., Ruiz Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science