NEW YORK, NY—Zhiping Pang, a researcher at the Child Health Institute in New Brunswick was awarded the 2012 Freedman Prize by the The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation at a ceremony on July 27.

The prestigious award was given for Dr. Pang’s success in developing a new way of studying synaptic dysfunction of brain and behavior disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Pang is an assistant professor of neuroscience and cell biology, and researcher at the Child Health Institute of New Jersey on French Street, according to a press release from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

 “Dr. Pang is a truly outstanding scientist who is working to better understand how dysfunction in brain development may lead to neurological and behavioral disorders in children. We are very proud that he has been recognized with the 2012 Freedman Prize,” said Arnold B. Rabson, Director of the Child Health Institute.

Laura Gallagher, Endowed Chair of Developmental Biology and professor of Pharmacology, Pediatrics, and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine said, “The basic science research that Dr. Pang conducts will lead to a better understanding of brain and behavioral disorders, as well as improved therapies for diseases such as schizophrenia, and neurodevelopmental disorders including autism.”

The brain relies on information that flows from one neuron to another in structures known as the synapses. It has been discovered that a dysfuction in is created when these synaptic transmissions become tightly regulated by calcium ions, which can lead to mental disorders.

According to Dr. Pang, researching this process is necessary to understand how the brain works and how this failure in the process of the brain can lead to mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He also postulates that this condition can be linked to disorders in feeding behavior, which leads to obesity.

Dr. Pang received medical training at the Fourth Military Medical University in Xi’an, China, and in 2007, and earned his doctorate in neuroscience at The University of Texas Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Pang completed his postdoctoral training at Stanford University, before joining Robert Wood Johnson Medical School as a resident faculty member at the Child Health Institute of New Jersey in 2011.