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Erin Schuman is a neurobiologist who studies the cell biology of synapses. She was born in San Gabriel, California, and completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Southern California (1985) and her Ph.D in neuroscience at Princeton University (1990). She conducted postdoctoral work in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University. In 1993, she became an assistant professor of biology at the California Institute of Technology where she moved up the ranks to Full Professor. In 1997 she was also appointed as an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 2009, she was recruited as a founding director of the new Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and moved to Frankfurt, Germany. Erin has been awarded numerous prizes and grants, including a Pew Scholars Award, the Beckman Young Investigator Award, the Hodgkin Huxley Katz Prize, two advanced investigator grants from the European Research Council, and the SfN Salpeter Lifetime Achievement Award.