Dr. Augusto Lempel Awarded NIH “Pathway to Independence Award”

June 12, 2024

MPFI researcher Dr. Augusto Lempel has been awarded the NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award. Dr. Lempel seeks to understand how the primary visual cortex develops to consistently recognize visual stimuli by studying changes in brain activity over time. This research is crucial to understanding how the brain can provide reliable information about environmental stimuli, which is an important part of developing adequate behavioral responses. This research could lead to a better understanding of development disruptions to perceptual maturation, in cases such as autism and Fragile X syndrome. Augusto is a postdoctoral scholar in MPFI’s Fitzpatrick Lab.

“I am incredibly proud of Augusto’s hard work and creativity. This prestigious award is a testament to his exceptional talent, and commitment to scientific excellence. It is rewarding to see his innovative research receive the attention and support it deserves. I am excited to see what else he will accomplish going forward,” said Dr. David Fitzpatrick, Scientific Director and CEO of the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience.

Dr. Lempel’s K99/R00 award is funded by the National Eye Institute of the NIH for $223,518 for two years.  In addition, for the R00 stage of this award, he may receive an additional $249,000 in direct costs per year for up to three years when he transitions into an independent position.

The purpose of the NIH K99/R00 program is to identify and support talented young investigators and enable them to launch competitive, independent research careers. This is the second K99/R00 awarded to an MPFI investigator from the Fitzpatrick Lab. Former MPFI postdoc Dr. Ben Scholl, now Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, was awarded the K99/R00 in 2020.

To learn more about the work of the Fitzpatrick Lab, click here.