April 14, 2023

Dr. Huda Akil Receives 2023 Gruber Neuroscience Prize

Huda Akil, Ph.D., MNI Research Professor and Gardner C. Quarton Distinguished University Professor of Neurosciences (Department of Psychiatry) was awarded the 2023 Gruber Neuroscience Prize

for her pioneering contributions to understanding the molecular, neural, and behavioral mechanisms of pain, stress, depression and substance abuse. 

Huda Akil
Huda Akil, Ph.D.

The prize comes with a gold medal and an unrestricted cash award. It is sponsored by Yale University’s The Gruber Foundation, a charitable organization that recognizes excellence in science by highlighting fields with the potential to create a better world.

Dr. Akil’s research centers around the biology of emotion. “What makes you feel bad, and what are the mechanisms in the brain that counter these feelings?” Akil said. “Understanding this has been my life’s work.” This included the discovery that the brain had a natural way to block pain. This was the first physiological evidence for the presence of endorphins in the brain and their potential role in pain, stress, addiction, and affective behavior.

“I’m deeply honored, grateful, and stunned to receive the 2023 Gruber Prize for Neuroscience, said Dr. Akil. “Thank you to my husband Stan Watson for being my partner in science and in life and to our trainees, the wonderful Wakils.  Also, thanks to MNI and the University of Michigan for being a wonderful scientific home, along with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute for Mental Health, the Hope for Depression Research Foundation, and the Pritzker Consortium for supporting our research.”