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The Cowan and Palay Awards were established by the publisher of the Journal of Comparative Neurology, Wiley-Blackwell, in 2004 to honor two previous Editors-in-chief of the Journal, who had each contributed so much to neuroanatomy. These two awards are presented by the current Editor, Patrick Hof. The awards are presented at the Cajal Club Social, held at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting.


W. Maxwell Cowan

W. Maxwell Cowan was the Editor-in-chief from 1968-1980 , then went on to be the founding Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Neuroscience, and the Chief Scientific Officer of the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes.  Dr. Cowan studied the connections of the hippocampus and developed anterograde tracer methods, but the main focus during his scientific career was on the development of visual system connections with the midbrain, including the effect of target tissue on determining neuronal trajectories and survival.  The Cowan Award is given in odd-numbered years to a neuroscientist for outstanding work in neural development.  Previous winners have included:

2005 Carla J. Shatz
2007 Andres Lumsden
2009 Thomas M. Jessell
2011 Marc Tessier-Lavigne
2011 Special Cowan Lifetime Achievement Award: Edward G. (Ted) Jones

2013 Pasko Rakic
2015 Mary Beth Hatten
2017 Fred H. Gage 


Sanford L. Palay

Sanford L. Palay was the Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Comparative Neurology from 1980-1993.  He was a Professor of Anatomy at Harvard Medical School and then Professor Emeritus during that tenure.  Dr. Palay was one of the earliest scientists to turn electron microscopy onto the nervous system, and in 1954 with George Palade provided the first descriptions of vertebrate synapses at the EM level.  Dr. Palay did groundbreaking studies on the fine structure of the cerebellum, and co-authored with Alan Peters and Henry deForest Webster the classic text, The Fine Structure of the Nervous System.  The Palay Award is given in even-numbered years to a neuroscientist for outstanding contributions in structure of the nervous system.  Previous winners have included:
2004   Alan Peters
2006   Tomas Hökfelt and Kjell Fuxe
2008   Harvey J. Karten
2010   Peter Somogyi
2012   Clifford Saper
2014   Ray Guillery and Jon Kass
2016   John H. Morrison
2016   Special Palay Lifetime
Achievement Award: Floyd E. Bloom
2018   Kristen Harris


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