Annual Lectures and Awards

The Woolsey Lecture

An old black and white photo of a young Clinton Woolsey peering down at an experiment. He has dark hair and wears glasses. There are unknown research tools on the desk near him.
Clinton N. Woolsey as a medical student, 1931

Clinton N. Woolsey (1904-1993) was Charles Sumner Schlichter Professor at the University of Wisconsin from 1948 until his retirement in 1978. His was one of three chairs endowed to celebrate UW’s centenary in 1948.

His studies of cerebral, cerebellar and thalamic architecture, localization and organization contributed substantially to our understanding of the brain. Clinton Woolsey and his colleagues at Wisconsin were responsible in no small part for the present broad interest in neuroscience. His contributions to neuroscience were significant. Scores of his papers are “classics” and they constitute much of current “general” knowledge about the brain.

Dr. Woolsey was a distinguished administrator, founding the University’s internationally recognized laboratory of Neurophysiology. He was its director until 1973. He was then asked to lay the groundwork for the strong research effort of the Waisman Center.

Dr. Woolsey was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1904. He earned his A.B. degree from Union College in 1928 where, 40 years later, he received an honorary D. Sc. Having decided to be a brain surgeon, he enrolled in The Johns Hopkins University’s medical school which awarded his M.D. degree in 1933.

Two older men look intently at medical equipment.
Clinton Woolsey and Jerzy Rose preparing for an experiment at UW, 1960s

Shortly after receiving a fellowship to work in The Johns Hopkins’ surgical research laboratory, he shifted his goals from clinical practice to research on the nervous system. From 1933 to 1948 he held a number of positions at Hopkins, where he was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Physiology. He was active as a teacher and researcher in Baltimore throughout WWII.

In 1948 Dr. Woolsey was appointed Professor of Neurophysiology at the University of Wisconsin, where he continued to work for more than a decade after his retirement. At UW, he extended his studies to include the motor and supplementary motor areas of the cerebral cortex including extensive and unique studies on the chimpanzee. He and his colleagues defined multiple sensory and motor areas of the cortex, thalamus, basal ganglia, cerebellum, brain stem and spinal cord of many animals. During this period he served as a member of national bodies advising the NIH, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Center for Primate Biology, and the Veterans Administration. He lectured widely at universities and was a member of the International Brain Research Organization, conducting symposia in China, Algeria, Chile, and France.

Dr. Woolsey was the holder of the Ralph W. Gerard Award, the Franklin P. Mall Award in Anatomy, the Medal of the Faculty of Medicine of the Free University of Brussels, and the Distinguished Service Alumni Award from Johns Hopkins.

He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1960. He was also a member of the The American Philosophical Society, The American Physiological Society, Society for Neuroscience and American Neurological Association.

Dr. Woolsey and his wife Harriet are remembered for their devotion to the community they created in Neurophysiology. He was a sharp but constructive critic who focused his and the work of his colleagues on important problems. Technically and intellectually sloppy work was not acceptable. He read widely and particularly enjoyed languages, seven of which he had good reading knowledge. His smile and subtle sense of humor are still recalled by many scientists, colleagues, and friends of his broad acquaintance throughout the world and here in Madison.

Previous Woolsey Lecturers include former Wisconsin Trainees, Wisconsin Collaborators, Members of the National Academy of Sciences, and Nobel Laureates.

Previous Honored Speakers

1976 W. Maxwell Cowman
1977 Stephen W. Kufter
1977 Thomas P. D. Powell
1979 Theodore H. Bullock
1980 Eric R. Kandel
1981 Thomas A. Woolsey
1982 Vernon B. Mountcastle
1983 Masakazu Konishi
1984 David R. Bently
1985 Torsten N. Weisel
1986 Dale Purves
1987 Richard F. Thompson
1988 Michael M. Merzenich
1989 Pasko Rakic
1990 Edward G. Jones
1991 Robert H. Wurtz
1992 Denis A. Baylor
1993 Bertil Hille
1994 Wolf Singer
1995 Carla J. Shatz

1996 Joshua R. Sanes
1997 Larry SRuire
1998 Roger Tsien
1999 Wolf Almers
2000 Lily Jan
2001 Eric Knudsen
2002 Bert Sakmann
2003 Charles Zuker
2004 John Collinge
2005 William T. Newsome
2006 Walter J. Gehring
2007/8 Joseph LeDoux
2009 Eve Marder
2010 JoaRuin M. Fuster
2011 Gail Mandel
2012 Wolfram Schultz
2013 S. Murray Sherman
2014 Jon H. Kaas
2015 Mahlon Delong
2016 John Maunsell

2017 Morgan Sheng
2018 Tomaso A. Poggio
2019 Lorna Role
2022 Liqun Luo
2023 Rui Costa

The Jerzy Rose Award

Jerzy Rose The Jerzy Rose Award

When Jerzy Rose retired, his faculty colleagues established the Rose Neuroscience Award. The award has been presented annually since 1982 to the UW-Madison graduate student whose thesis research in the neurosciences is deemed most original and significant by members of the committee.

Jerzy Rose was an outstanding scientist.  He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1972 in recognition of his numerous and fundamental contributions in both neurophysiology and neuroanatomy.  His early anatomical studies explored the interconnections between the cortex and thalamus. He then became a pioneer in recording from single neurons. He was one of the first to adopt the use of digital computers in acquiring and analyzing electrophysiological data.  Using these techniques, he made fundamental observations about how the mammalian auditory system is organized and how sound is encoded.

Jerzy Rose was recruited to the University of Wisconsin Dept. of Neurophysiology from Johns Hopkins in 1961. He was recruited by Clinton Woolsey, who remained a close collaborator. Jerzy Rose was on the faculty of the Dept. of Neurophysiology from 1961 to 1979. He was among the first to recognize the strength of combining anatomical and physiological approaches; with this interdisciplinary approach he made fundamental observations about how the mammalian auditory system is organized and how sound is encoded. He and his colleagues documented the ability of auditory neurons to encode timing to within tenths of milliseconds with the first lab computers to be used on this campus. His last series of papers were done together with his wife Hanna Sobkowicz and concerned studies of the development of the cochlea in tissue culture. He died in the summer of 1992 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Previous Winners

1982 (1st): James M. Bower (Neurophysiology, 12/1981)
1983 (2nd): Thomas A. Reh (NTP, 8/1981)
1984 (3rd): Ralph Davis (NTP, 8/1984)
1985 (4th): Laura Lillien (NTP, 12/1985)
1986 (5th): Thomas T. Elkins (Zoology, 8/1986)
1987 (6th): Li Deng (Electrical Engineering, 8/1986)
1988 (7th): Nancy M. Bonini (NTP, 12/1987)
1989 (8th): Sandra M. Bajjalieh (NTP, 8/1989)
1990 (9th): Carolyn R. Norris (NTP, 8/1990), Laurel H. Carney (Electrical Engineering, 8/1989), and Gisela F. Wilson (NTP, 5/1990)
1991 (10th): Mark P. Gray-Keller (NTP, 5/1991)
1992 (11th): Abbie Jensen (NTP, 8/1992) and Bill Hoffman (NTP, 8/1990)
1993 (12th): Klaus Bielefeldt (Physiology, 12/1991)
1994 (13th): Indira M. Raman (NTP, 8/1994)
1995 (14th): Ajay Kapur (NTP, 5/1995)
1996 (15th): Thomas R. Tucker (NTP, 5/1996)
1997 (16th): Luis C. Populin (NTP & Kinesiology, 12/1996)
1998 (17th): Li-Lian Yuan (NTP, 8/1998)
1999 (18th): Edward L. Bartlett (NTP, 8/1999)
2000 (19th): Lei Zhou (Physiology, 5/2000)
2001 (20th): Stephanie M. Gardner (Physiology, 12/2000) and Jinling Wang (Physiology, 12/2001)
2002 (21st): Jihong Bai (Biophysics, 5/2003)
2003 (22nd): Chih-Tien Wang (Physiology, 12/2001) and Vitaly Klyachko (Biophysics, 8/2002)
2004 (23rd): Min Dong (NTP, 5/2004) and Tracy L. Baker-Herman (NTP, 8/2001)
2005 (24th): Xue Han (Physiology, 12/2004)
2006 (25th): Estuardo Robles (NTP, 12/2005)
2007 (26th): Payne Y. Chang (Biophysics, 5/2006)
2008 (27th): Michael C. Chicka (12/2007) and Xiaobing Li (5/2008)
2009 (28th): Dominique Fontanilla (MCP, 5/2010) and Enfu Hui (Biophysics, 8/2009)
2010 (29th): Zhen Zhang (8/2009)

2011 (30th): Keith Hengen (NTP, 12/2010)
2012 (31st): Sam Kwon (unknown) and Erica Rosenbaum (NTP, 8/2012)
2013 (32nd): Sandipan Chowdhury (Biophysics, 2014)
2014 (33rd): Julian Motzkin (NTP, 5/2014)
2015 (34th): Abigail Rajala (NTP, 4/2015), Hua Bai (Physiology, 2/2015)
2016 (35th): Chantell Evans (NTP, 5/2016)
2017 (36th): Ewa Bomba-Warczak (NTP, 8/2016)
2018 (37th): Antoine Mader
2019 (38th): Antoine Mader
2020 (39th): Mazdak Bradberry (CMB, 2020), David S. White (NTP/2020)
2021 (40th): Michelle Redinbaugh (Psychology/2021), Nick Vogt (MST/2021)
2022 (41st): Chris Morrow (MCP), Anil Chokkalla (CMP)
2023 (42nd): Cameron Casey (NTP/2023), Lowell Thompson (NTP/2022)

The Cranefield Lecture

Paul F. Cranefield (1925-2003)

The Cranefield Lectureship was established by Dr. Paul F. Cranefield’s estate as a way to honor his contributions to promote and publish studies of the interface between biology, chemistry, and physics, and to encourage communication and scholarship in the sciences.

Dr. Cranefield was a true renaissance man. He made many important contributions to cardiac electrophysiology; among these was the monograph Electrophysiology of the Heart, published with coauthor Brian F. Hoffman in 1960, which for many years was a “citation classic.” In 1988, he and Hoffman received the Medal of the New York Academy of Medicine for their work that ushered in a “new era in cardiac physiology and pharmacology.” Dr. Cranefield was particularly interested in the genesis of cardiac arrythmias, about which he published two more books. For his work on the electrical activity of myocardial cells, he was awarded the Einthoven Medal from the Einthoven Foundation, by Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands, and he also received an NIH MERIT award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

He was a medical historian who wrote extensively on the history of physiology in the 19th century. For many years, Dr. Cranefield found time to travel throughout Southern Africa, and he wrote Science and Empire: East Coast Fever in Rhodesia and the Transvaal, which traced the social, governmental, and economic impact of the disease as well as the path of discovery that led to its identification: intrigued by a central character in that history, he subsequently published a follow up book, entitled Born Wanderer: The Life of Stanley Portal Hyatt. Dr. Cranefield was an avid bibliophile and collector of early scientific books. He was a fellow of the International Academy of the History of Medicine, and of the New York Academy of Medicine, where he served variously as chairman of the Committee on Library, president of the Friends of the Rare Book Room, and as editor of the Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine. He served on the Ad Hoc Committee on Historical Translations of the American Association for the History of Medicine. He was also a member of the American Physiological Society, the Society of General Physiologists, and the American Philosophical Society, and he was a charter member of the Biophysical Society.

Dr. Cranefield was Editor of the Journal of General Physiology for almost 30 yr, from 1966 until 1995. During that time he became the de facto mentor to a generation of scientists through his demands for not just excellence but perfection! Under his stewardship, the Journal became renowned for the thoroughness of the editorial review received by all submitted manuscripts and the corresponding high quality of the papers that its authors were expected to deliver.