Zoology alum receives John V. Atanasoff Discovery Award from LAS

November 8, 2019

Dr. Gordon Shepherd
Dr. Gordon Shepherd ('55 zoology)

AMES, IOWA — Gordon Shepherd, a recently retired professor emeritus of neuroscience at the Yale University School of Medicine, has earned the John V. Atanasoff Discovery Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS). Shepherd received the honor during a ceremony on October 24 in Ames. This honor recognizes LAS alumni who have significantly advanced scientific knowledge through laboratory accomplishments and management. 

During Shepherd’s 52 years at Yale, he has published more than 280 articles and reviews and presented at symposia and conferences too numerous to count. Many of the books he has authored, including The Synaptic Organization of the Brain, Neurobiology, and Foundations of the Neuron Doctrine, are considered seminal texts in the field of neuroscience.

Since 1966, Shepherd has received continuous grant support for his groundbreaking research. He introduced the olfactory system as a model for analyzing the properties of neurons and synapses in the brain and the formation of neural images of olfactory molecules. His research has contributed to properties of neuronal dendrites and spines, olfactory processing, and development of the new fields of computational neuroscience, brain microcircuits, neuroinformatics, and neurogastronomy.

Dr. Robert Brayton and Dr. Gordon Shepherd
Dr. Gordon Shepherd (’55 zoology), right, responds to an attendee's question at the Oct. 25 seminar he and Dr. Robert Brayton (’56 electrical engineering), left, led at Iowa State University: “John Atanasoff and a Golden Age of Science at ISU.” An estimated 60 people attended the seminar, which was cohosted by the departments of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology and Computer and Electrical Engineering.

Shepherd was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neuroscience, elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Cajal Club, the nation’s oldest neuroscience society, in 2015.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in zoology from Iowa State University, Shepherd earned his M.D. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in physiology from Oxford University.

About the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University is a world-class learning and research community. As Iowa State’s most academically diverse college, LAS educates students to become global citizens, providing rigorous academic programs in the sciences, humanities and social sciences within a supportive personalized learning environment. For more information, visit LAS.iastate.edu.