University lecturer to receive prestigious prize

University lecturer to receive prestigious prize

An academic from the University of Aberdeen will be awarded a prestigious prize from the British Society for Neuroendocrinology next week.

Dr Tyler Stevenson from the School of Biological Sciences will receive the Michael Harbuz Prize for Young Investigators at the society’s annual conference.

The prize is awarded to honour the memory and contribution to neuroendocrinology of Dr Michael Harbuz, and recognises an outstanding member of the emerging generation of neuroendocrinologists.

Dr Stevenson has made major research contributions to a central question in regulatory biology, specifically the timing of biological functions to match environmental and seasonal conditions.

As recipient of the award, Dr Stevenson will deliver a 30 minute lecture at the conference, which is being held at the University of Glasgow from Sunday to Tuesday (28-30th August).

Dr Stevenson said: “It is a tremendous honour to receive the Michael Harbuz prize and to be recognised by the society.

“My research focuses on how a key region in the brain known as the hypothalamus, integrates information from the environment and as well as our endogenous ‘milieu’. These external and internal cues have a powerful effect on timing a diverse range of physiological and behavioural processes. The laboratory currently examines the role of epigenetic modifications (molecular changes surrounding the genome) for timing short- and long-term changes in hypothalamic function. By increasing our knowledge of how specific genes are regulated in the hypothalamus allows the development of novel pharmaceutical drugs for the treatment of animal and human pathologies, such as obesity and infertility.

“My lecture will highlight the recent advancements for the role of epigenetic modifications for the hypothalamic regulation of daily and seasonal rhythm in metabolic and reproductive physiology and behaviour. The presentation will also provide the first description of the Siberian hamster genome and the discovery of exciting, and new genes involved in body weight regulation."

Professor Kevin O’Byrne, Chair of the BSN, said: “The Michael Harbuz Prize is the most prestigious award given by the British Society for Neuroendocrinology to a young scientist in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the field of neuroendocrinology. It is ferociously competitive and given at our Annual Meeting, and we are delighted that Dr. Tyler Stevenson is the Michael Harbuz Prize recipient for 2016.

“The prize is given in honour of Dr. Michael Harbuz, University of Bristol, who died in 2006 at the young age of 47.  Mick was not only an active member of the British Society for Neuroendocrinology, serving executive roles including Treasurer, but was recognised internationally as an outstanding scientist.  His collegiate spirit, tireless devotion to the neuroendocrine community and infectious character and enthusiasm for facilitating the careers of young scientists underlies the ethos of the Michael Harbuz Prize.”