2015 Karl Spencer Lashley Award

2015 Spring General Meeting

David W. Tank

The American Philosophical Society is pleased to award the 2015 Karl Spencer Lashley Award to David W. Tank in recognition of his pioneering application of intracellular recording and two-photon microscopy in awake animals, which has revealed new insights into the neural circuits underlying cognition.

David Tank pioneered the application of intracellular recording and two-photon microscopy in awake animals working in virtual-reality environments. These techniques have revealed information at the cellular and circuit levels about neural integration, place coding in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, and about the neural circuitry underlying decisions during spatial navigation. His work has provided key tests of computational models of how neural circuits operate.

Dr. Tank is Henry L. Hillman Professor in Molecular Biology at Princeton University and Co-Director of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. He received a Ph.D. in physics at Cornell University. For almost two decades he served on the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories, including as director of the Biological Computation Research Department, and remains a consultant. He joined the faculty of Princeton University in 2001 as a professor of molecular biology and physics.

The Karl Spencer Lashley Award was established in 1957 by a gift from Dr. Lashley, a member of the Society and a distinguished neuroscientist and neuropsychologist. His entire scientific life was spent in the study of behavior and its neural basis. Dr. Lashley’s famous experiments on the brain mechanisms of learning, memory and intelligence helped inaugurate the modern era of integrative neuroscience, and the Lashley Award recognizes innovative work that continues exploration in the field.

The selection committee consisted of Larry R. Squire (chair), Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Neurosciences, and Psychology, UCSD School of Medicine, Research Career Scientist, VA Medical Center, San Diego; John Dowling, Gordon and Llura Gund Professor of Neurosciences, Harvard University; John G. Hildebrand, Regents Professor of Neuroscience, University of Arizona, Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Sciences; and William T. Newsome III, Professor of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute.