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Neuroscience And Entomology Professor Gene Robinson To Receive NIH Award

Gene Robinson, a professor of entomology and neuroscience at the University of Illinois, has been named a recipient of the 2009 National Institutes of Health Pioneer Award.

Robinson’s award is $2.5 million in direct costs over five years. The award enables promising young researchers to pursue high-impact, transformative research in the fields of biomedical and behavioral science.

According to the NIH, Robinson will use his Pioneer Award to investigate in molecular terms how to transform the brain’s reward system from a selfish to an altruistic orientation, with the goal of achieving a new understanding of drug addiction and other diseases.

The director of the Bee Research Facility and the Neuroscience Program at Illinois, Robinson is the author or co-author of more than 200 publications, including pioneering research in the application of genomics to the study of social behavior. He also leads the Honey Bee Genome Sequencing Consortium.

Robinson, who holds a Swanlund endowed chair at Illinois, previously was honored as a University Scholar, Fulbright Fellow and Guggenheim Fellow. He recently was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

The NIH, which granted 18 new Pioneer Awards, comprises 27 institutes and centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The NIH is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases.

Editor's note: To contact Gene Robinson, call 217-333-6843; e-mail

Phil Ciciora | University of Illinois
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