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Pasko Rakic (Template:Lang-hr; born 1933, Ruma, Serbia) is a neuroscientist at Yale University. Rakic has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences USA, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Presidency of the Society for Neuroscience.[1] He was a co-recipient, with Thomas Jessell and Sten Grillner, of the inaugural Kavli Prize for Neuroscience in 2008.[2].

Early life

Born in Syrmian city of Ruma, Kingdom of Yugoslavia (now Vojvodina, Serbia) into a Croatian family,[3] Rakic studied medicine at the University of Belgrade, then embarked on a career as a neurosurgeon. His research career began in 1962, with a fellowship at Harvard University.


According to Nature Medicine, his first experiments required "a special grant, nearly 200 rhesus monkeys and so much radioactive thymidine that manufacturers had to retool their entire production system to provide it." Rakic injected the monkeys' foetuses with radioactive thymidine at a particular time after conception. Only replicating cells took up the radioactive label, which enabled Rakic to trace the lineages of brain cells as they were created. He and his team then sliced the brain of each monkey into 7,000 sections for the benefit of future researchers. Because he used a radiolabel that decays slowly, the slides should be useful for years, and have so far led to more than 24 papers.[4]

He received the 15th Annual Bristol-Meyers Squibb Award for Distinguished Achievement in Neuroscience Research, a $50,000 award, which noted two of his hypotheses in particular. The first hypothesis is the radial unit hypothesis, that in the developing cerebral cortex the cells are created at the base of each column, and that each new cell migrates past its predecessors. In the related protomap hypothesis, external signals determine cell function as it grows and forms complex connections.[5]

Among the discoveries made by Pasko Rakic is the first description of neurogenesis in the subventricular zone.

Since 1990, he is correspondent member of Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.


External links

  • HAZU Paško Rakić - Biography