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The ICTP Prize to former SISSA PhD Student Emilio Kropff

The argentinian neuroscientist awarded for the discovery of the "GPS neurons"

The 2017 ICTP Prize has been awarded to Emilio Kropff, a neuroscientist from Argentina affiliated with that country’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council’s (CONICET) Instituto de Investigaciones Bioquimicas de Buenos Aires (IIBBA), Leloir Institute. The Prize recognizes Kropff’s outstanding contributions to neurosciences.

Kropff's work addresses several aspects of memory and spatial cognition, combining both experimental and theoretical approaches. Most notably, Kropff discovered speed cells in the brain's entorhinal cortex, neurons that encode a high-precision measurement of speed. The discovery was crucial, as it provides the missing link in our understanding of how path integration, a mechanism contributing to spatial orientation based on self-motion rather than sensory cues, is implemented in the brains of rats. The study was featured in Nature in 2015.

The award ceremony was held on Friday 29 June at 14:30 in ICTP's Budinich Lecture Hall.