In 2012, the award was to Barry Everitt, Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and Master of Downing College. Barry Everitt’s research has contributed immensely to our understanding of the neural mechanisms of reward mechanisms, drug-seeking behavior and relapse. Dr. Everitt’s work has had a tremendous impact on the field as indicated, for example, that he is among the world’s 100 most highly cited neuroscientists.
Professor Barry Everitt graduated from the University of Hull with a B.Sc. in Zoology in 1967. He gained his Ph.D. in behavioural neuroendocrinology from the University of Birmingham in 1970. Following postdoctoral neuroscience research as an MRC Fellow at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, he joined the Department of Anatomy at the University of Cambridge as a lecturer in 1974 and was appointed Reader in Neuroscience in 1991. He moved to the Department of Experimental Psychology in Cambridge in 1994 and was elected Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience in 1997. In 2003, he was elected as the Master of Downing College, having been a Fellow since 1976 and the Director of Studies in Medicine until 1997.
Barry Everitt was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (2007) and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2008). He has received honorary D.Sc. degrees from both his almae matres (Hull University in 2009; Birmingham University in 2010). He was the co-recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award (2011) and the European Behavioural Pharmacological Society’s Distinguished Achievement Award (2011). He has been President of the British Association for Psychopharmacology (1992-4), the European Brain and Behaviour Society (1998-2000) and the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society (2003-5). He was Chair of the International Fellowships Committee of the Human Frontier Science Program (1994-6), a member of the MRC Neurosciences and Mental Health Board (1999-2003) and a Scientific Counsellor for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Washington DC, 2002-6). He was Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Neuroscience from 1997-2008 and has been a Reviewing Editor for the journal Science since 2005. He chaired the Programme Committee for the first FENS Forum in Berlin in 1998, when the FENS was established and is currently Chair of the Program Committee for the 2012 Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans.
His research is concerned with understanding the neural mechanisms of motivation, reward, learning and memory, especially in the context of drug addiction. Some key findings of research by the talented researchers who have worked in his laboratory include: (i) the importance of amygdala-nucleus accumbens interactions in mediating the impact of drug associated stimuli on drug seeking; (ii) the shift in the neural control over drug seeking behaviour from ventral to dorsal striatum that underlies the transition from being goal-directed to habitual; (iii) that impulsive individuals are those having the propensity to seek drugs compulsively; (iv) the reconsolidation of drug-associated memories and its dependence on specific neurochemical and molecular processes in the amygdala. He has published over 400 scientific papers and is one of the world’s 100 most highly cited neuroscience researchers.
The FENS-EJN Award is sponsored by Wiley-Blackwell (publishers of EJN). It was presented at the 2012 FENS Forum in Barcelona (July 14-18, 2012).