The work of Carla J. Shatz, Ph.D., has been instrumental in discerning the basic principles of early brain development and the role of neural activity in how and when neural connections are formed. She made the revolutionary discovery that long before vision is possible, the retina generates waves of spontaneous activity that are critical for cellular pattern formation in the brain. Dr. Shatz currently serves as the Nathan Marsh Pusey Professor and chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. She helped to develop the Harvard Center for Neurodegeneration and Repair and leads its Center for Brain Imaging. Dr. Shatz received her Ph.D. in neurobiology from Harvard Medical School, where she remained for postdoctoral work. Her academic career began at Stanford University School of Medicine. She later moved to the University of California, Berkeley, where she became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and eventually returned to the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard, where she remains today. Her many honors include the Gill Prize presented by the Indiana University Gill Center for Biomolecular Sciences, the Weizmann Institute Women and Science Award, the Bernard Sachs Award from the Child Neurology Society, and the Alcon Award for Outstanding Contributions to Vision Research. She has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Philosophical Society.