An interview with the winners of the 2020 Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology | Science

Recorded 01 October 2020


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The Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology acknowledges the increasingly active and important role of neurobiology in advancing our understanding of the functioning of the brain and the nervous system—a quest that seems destined for dramatic expansion in the coming decades.

The 2020 prize winner and finalists are a passionate and engaged group who are carrying out fascinating work at the forefront of their respective fields. Listen in as they are interviewed by Dr. Sean Sanders, Director and Senior Editor for Custom Publishing at Science. They talk about their research and how it intersects with their personal interests, as well as the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on their professional lives.

This international prize, established in 2002, encourages the work of promising young neurobiologists by providing support in the early stages of their careers. It is awarded annually for the most outstanding neurobiological research by a young scientist, as described in a 1,000-word essay based on research performed during the past three years.

The winner of the Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology is awarded US$25,000 and publication of his or her essay in Science. The essay and those of up to three finalists are also published on Science Online. The award is announced and presented at a ceremony at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Eppendorf provides financial support to help enable the grand prize winner to attend the meeting.


For more information about the Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology, please go to: or


[Music: MediaM/MelodyLoops; Podcast editing and production: Castos and Sean Sanders]

Speaker bios

Christopher Zimmerman, Ph.D.

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ

Christopher Zimmerman received his undergraduate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco. His thesis research focused on the neural mechanisms that govern thirst and drinking behavior. Dr. Zimmerman is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, where he continues to study the neural processes underlying motivated behaviors.

Tara LeGates, Ph.D.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Baltimore, MD

Tara LeGates received a B.S. in Biopsychology from Rider University and her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where she established the importance of the strength and plasticity of hippocampus-nucleus accumbens synapses in reward-related behavior. Dr. LeGates is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Her lab studies how neuronal circuits integrate information to regulate behavior and their alterations in psychiatric disorders.

Riccardo Beltramo, Ph.D.

University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Riccardo Beltramo received his undergraduate degree from the University of Turin and his Ph.D. from the Italian Institute of Technology. After his doctoral training, Dr. Beltramo joined the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of California San Diego and the University of California San Francisco, where he is completing his postdoctoral work. He studies sensory perception in the mouse visual system, focusing on understanding how cortical and subcortical neural circuits process visual information to drive behavior.

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