ISU biomedical scientist receives research excellence award

AMES, Iowa -- Vlastislav Bracha, associate professor of biomedical sciences at Iowa State University, is recipient of the 2006 Pfizer Award for Research Excellence. The award was presented during the College of Veterinary Medicine's 2006 Research Day, Aug. 11.

The award, sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health, recognizes outstanding research that has or is likely to attain national recognition.

In his nomination of Bracha, Richard Martin, professor and chair of the biomedical sciences department, said, "Dr. Bracha is internationally renowned for his research, which involves the structure and function of the neural networks that are responsible for simple forms of associative learning. His studies have contributed to the scientific community's understanding of classical conditioning."

Bracha's research focuses on how the nervous system is involved in the memory process and in the generation of predictive automatic responses. Using sophisticated computer techniques, Bracha can record communications between brain cells and analyze how animals learn. His research has been published in the Journal of Neurophysiology, Brain Research, Anatomical Record and Learning and Memory.

"I am very honored by this award," Bracha said. "The college and department have created an excellent environment for our research. I believe that this award will be a great source of pride to students, post doctoral fellows and research associates in my laboratory who, through their creativity and diligent work, significantly contribute to the advancement of science."

In addition to his research, Bracha teaches endocrinology and comparative physiology to veterinary students. He has trained several postdoctoral fellows.

Bracha joined the faculty at Iowa State in 2000. He received doctoral degrees from the Czechoslovak Academy of Science and from Charles University, both in Prague.