(Philadelphia, PA) -- Irwin B. Levitan, PhD., Chairman of the Department of Neuroscience and the David J. Mahoney Professor of Neurological Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has been named recipient of the Ranwell Caputto Award for 2001.

The award is named for Ranwell Caputto, MD, a researcher at the Institute for Biochemical Research in Argentina, who was instrumental in investigating how galactose is formed in the mammary gland. He later helped found the Institute of Biological Chemistry and the Sociedad Argentin de Neurouquimica (SAN).

Presented annually by the Argentine Society for Neurochemistry, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in the area of neurochemistry. The award will be presented later this month in Buenos Aires, at the biennial meeting of the International Society for Neurochemisty. Levitan will also serve as the Society's Plenary Lecturer, discussing Molecular Mechanisms in the Modulation of Neuronal Excitability.

Levitan's ongoing research combines biochemistry, molecular biology, and electrophysiology in its quest to discover the ways in which nerve cell activity is regulated to control behavior. The study is currently looking at molecules that are involved in the control of nerve cell activity, in order to understand how different molecules act together to produce specific behavioral outputs.

Levitan is the Secretary of the Neuroscience Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has recently been elected to their Governing Council. He has also been elected Secretary/Treasurer of the Association of Medical School Neuroscience Department Chairs.


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