A UC Irvine professor has been presented an honorary degree from the University of Salamanca in Spain for his research on the brain.
Edward G. Jones received the award last month for his studies on the primate central nervous system and its development.
“Receiving such a degree was an honor in its own right,” said Jones, a professor of anatomy and neurobiology. “But to receive it from such a revered institution, and one that has bestowed it upon some of the greatest scientists and thinkers the world has known, was a humbling experience.”
University of Salamanca is the world’s fourth-oldest institution of higher learning. Jones was presented the award during a ceremony held in the same halls where Christopher Columbus in 1486 persuaded Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand to finance his journey to the New World.
The university’s ceremony, which honors some of the world’s most accomplished scientists, was conducted in Latin and has been virtually unchanged since its inception 779 years ago.
Jones’ studies of the brain show that seemingly minute abnormalities that lead to imbalances in the amounts of neurotransmitters can cause serious long-term disorders to the nervous systems. An example of these disorders is schizophrenia.
Gaining an understanding of neuroanatomy will enable scientists to better understand normal neonatal and fetal brain development as well as lead to intervention strategies for preventing developmental defects, Jones said.