Gonzalo E. Torres Receives Presidential Early Career Award

Issue Date: 
August 26, 2009
Gonzalo E. TorresGonzalo E. Torres

Gonzalo E. Torres, an assistant professor of neurobiology in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, will receive a 2008 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government upon young professionals in the early stages of their research careers. Torres is among 100 PECASE winners this year and one of 12 National Institutes of Health-supported PECASE recipients in the United States.

As a PECASE awardee, Torres will receive up to a five-year grant to further his research on the regulation of dopamine in the brain and its relationship to psychiatric disorders and drug addiction.

“Awards such as the PECASE are particularly important to young faculty members like Dr. Torres who are still developing their laboratories and research teams,” noted Arthur S. Levine, senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “In Gonzalo’s case, his insightful work suggesting that monoamine transporters have a more complex degree of organization than previously anticipated offers new leads for the development of therapies for diseases like schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, and drug addiction.”

The PECASE awards were established by President Bill Clinton in 1996 and are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected based on the following criteria: pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and a commitment to community service demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach.

“Early in their research careers, these individuals have already shown exceptional potential for scientific leadership. We can only look forward to greater discovery and contributions by these gifted biomedical researchers,” said Raynard S. Kington, acting director of the National Institutes of Health.

Torres and other PECASE awardees will be honored by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony this fall.