University of Southern California (USC) neuroscientist Roberta Diaz Brinton is among 13 winners of the 2010 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation's second highest civilian honor. Brinton is being honored for her contributions to science and technology education. For the past 19 years she has directed the USC STAR Program, which educates Los Angeles students and their teachers about science and provides hands-on research opportunities in labs at USC.
Brinton's own laboratory studies the neural mechanisms of cognition and how they're affected by aging and neurodegenerative disease. In particular, she's received recognition, including being featured in a recent article in The New York Times Magazine, for her work on the potentially neuroprotective effects of estrogen in women who take hormone therapy after menopause.