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Klingenstein Fellowship Awards in the Neurosciences

Recent news related to current and former fellows. Fellows: if you have information you would like to contribute, please send it to Kathleen Pomerantz.

August 19, 2018
We mourn the passing of John Klingenstein, who died on August 19, 2018, after a long illness. Born and raised in New York City, he attended Deerfield Academy, Yale and the University of Michigan where he received a master’s degree in engineering. His first job was at Westinghouse where he was a member of an elite team that designed jet engines. He continued his engineering career at Ross and Roberts before joining Wertheim & Co. an investment firm co-founded by his father, Joseph Klingenstein. He was a partner of Wertheim until the family interest was sold in 1987, after which he became a managing member of the money management firm, Klingenstein, Fields & Co. LLC.

As the leader of his family’s philanthropy for over 40 years, he felt that while charity came from the heart, philanthropy was a serious business that required the discipline and rigor of a business. He was patient with his giving, understanding that worthwhile things take time to develop. His interests ranged broadly, but he placed particular emphasis on private secondary school education and neuroscience basic research.

To promote neuroscience research, John established the Klingenstein Fellowship Awards in Neuroscience (now called the Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards in Neuroscience) which has, since its inception in 1981, helped advance the work of many of the country’s finest neuroscientists. “John shepherded this program to become a gold standard in biomedical philanthropy, which has had an outsized effect on progress in neuroscience research,” said Charles Gilbert, Chair of the program’s neuroscience advisory committee.

John led the effort to establish the Klingenstein Center at Columbia Teachers College in 1977, which offers leadership programs and degrees for independent school teachers and administrators.

He put more stock in people than in programs, young people in particular. He was loyal and trusting and, although he never expected anything in return, he always got back respect and admiration, often friendship. He was a gentleman, honorable in everything he did. Always direct and straight ahead. Modest to a fault, he was a master at deflecting praise and generally gave credit to others.

He served on many boards. Virtually all his fellow board members could be counted on to observe that when he began a question, as he invariably did, with “I don’t know anything about the subject,” you knew right away that he knew more than you did and that he was about to raise a critical point, one for which, you were uncomfortably certain, you were ill prepared.

His passion was his family. He met his wife Patricia of 66 years when he was at Yale and she at Smith. He loved her and he leaned on her, as she on him. Although not always emotive, he was unmistakably and unreservedly proud of his four children. They survive him as does his wife, a daughter in law, brother Frederick, 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild.

November 13, 2017
Brian J. O'Roak (2015) was awarded a research grant by The National Institutes of Mental Health. The grant is part of the NIMH Biobehavioral Research Awards for Innovative New Scientists, or BRAINS, and recognizes O’Roak as an autism research innovator who has the potential to transform the field.

November 1, 2017
The Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards in Neuroscience is very pleased to announce that Louis F. Reichardt has joined its Advisory Committee.

May 3, 2017
Michael M. Halassa (2015 Fellow) published a recent article in Nature that indicates the thalamus has a much broader role in cognition than previously thought.

September 1, 2016
Marc Tessier-Lavigne (1992 Fellow), former president of The Rockefeller University, becomes Stanford University's eleventh president.

July 20, 2016
Daniel O'Connor (2013 Fellow) published two recent articles in Nature Neuroscience (Yang et al. and Kwon et al.) that link the flow of neuronal activity across feedforward and feedback brain circuits to tactile perception.

February 18, 2016
Kay Tye (2013 fellow) is named by President Obama as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

April, 2015
Robert Froemke (2012 fellow) is published in Neuron (D'amour and Froemke), examining for the first time how excitatory and inhibitory synapses are modified together to control excitability while enhancing neural computations. Dr. Froemke is also published in Nature (Marlin et al.) showing how oxytocin helps enable maternal behavior in new mom mice.

March 12, 2015
Inside Philanthropy article, " Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards: Year Two."

January 5, 2015
The Klingenstein—Simons Fellowship Awards in the Neuroscience is very pleased to announce that Helen S. Mayberg has joined its Advisory Committee.

August 11, 2014
Inside Philanthropy article, "A Peek Inside the New and Improved Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards in the Neurosciences."

July 24, 2014
Maria Neimark Geffen's (2011 fellow) research was featured on the Philadelphia public radio station, WHYY.

June 10, 2014
The 2014 Klingenstein—Simons Fellowship Awards in the Neurosciences are announced in the Science Times section of The New York Times.
(cover, inside).

November 15, 2013
The Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fund and the Simons Foundation are pleased to announce the launch of the Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards in the Neurosciences.

The Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards in the Neurosciences is very pleased to announce that Gerald D. Fischbach has joined its Advisory Committee.

September 22, 2013
The Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund was saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. David Hubel (1926-2013). Dr. Hubel was an early advisor to The Fund and was instrumental in getting its neuroscience program started. "His impeccable scientific taste has had a lasting impact on the quality and reputation of the Klingenstein Fellows program," said Charles Gilbert, Chairman of the Advisory Committee.
The New York Times: David Hubel, Nobel-Winning Scientist, Dies at 87

July 1, 2013
The Board of Trustees of The Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund, Inc. is pleased to announce the election of Andrew (Andy) Klingenstein as its President. The Board acknowledges with gratitude and pride, John Klingenstein's 40-year service as President of the Fund and his singular contributions to both the advancement of independent secondary education and basic neuroscience research. John was the driving force behind the establishment of the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College and the Klingenstein Fellowship Awards in Neuroscience, among other initiatives. John has been named President Emeritus and will continue his membership on the Fund's Board. Since 1993, Andy Klingenstein has served as President of a Klingenstein family foundation with interests in mental health and, since 2005, as President of another family foundation dedicated to the advancement of oral health in Maine. The Fund remains deeply committed to its two principle areas of interest: independent education and basic neuroscience research.

June 30, 2013
The laboratory of Dr. Maria Neimark Geffen (2011 fellow) ( has discovered a new connection between emotional learning and sensory processing. This work, recently published in Nature Neuroscience, identifies a novel role for the sensory cortex in perceptual learning. Their results have important implications for understanding the mechanisms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders.

May 10, 2013
The lab of Dr. Michael J. Higley (2010 Fellow) has discovered a new role for GABAergic inhibition in controlling synaptic activity. This work, recently published in Science, has important implications for understanding the role of inhibition in brain development and neuronal plasticity.

May 10, 2013
The Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund is pleased to announce its
2013 Fellowship Awards in the Neurosciences.

April 2, 2013
The Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund congratulates Cornelia Bargmann (former Klingenstein Advisor), co-chair of NIH's BRAIN Working Group, along with committee members Joshua Sanes (Klingenstein Advisor), Karl Deisseroth (2005 Fellow), Peter MacLeish (1985 Fellow), and Mark Schnitzer (2004 Fellow).

October 14, 2012
Marlene R. Cohen (2012 Fellow) receives the 2012 Eppendorf/Science Prize for Neurobiology, recognizing her research contributions into the neural basis of internal mental states.

July 10, 2012
Guy M. McKhann, II (99 Fellow) appears on episode 1 of NY Med.

May 29, 2012
The Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund is very pleased to announce that Jeremy Nathans has joined its Advisory Committee.

May 11, 2012
The Esther A. & Joseph Klingenstein Fund is very pleased to announce that Lily Jan (83 Fellow) has joined its Advisory Committee.

April 18, 2012
Edward F. Chang (11 Fellow), led a study with his colleague Nima Mesgarani, working with patients who were undergoing brain surgery for severe epilepsy, solving the longstanding mystery of how selective hearing works.

February 16, 2011
Gabriel Kreiman (08 Fellow), in collaboration with Itzhak Fried, investigated the neuronal circuitry underlying volition and showed that neurons in the human medial frontal cortex are activated several hundreds of milliseconds before subjects become aware of their own volitional intentions.

September 8, 2010
The Rockefeller University announced today that its Board of Trustees has elected Marc Tessier-Lavigne (92 Fellow) as its tenth president, effective on March 11, 2011.

August 4, 2010
Mark J. Zylka, (06 Fellow) has made an exciting new discovery related to PAP and pain mechanisms that will be published in Journal of Neuroscience today. The discovery has implications for treating chronic pain.