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Till Photonics Technology Prize of the German Neuroscience Society 2013

This prize is awarded by the German Neuroscience Society (NWG) for developing groundbreaking technologies in brain research. The prize money, given by the companyTill Photonics, amounts to EUR 2.500 and aims to supporting young investigators. The age limit is 35. The scientific excellence should be documented by outstanding publications. Candidates must either be working in a German research institution or be of German origin if working outside of Germany. Applications from all fields in neuroscience are welcome. Membership in the German Neuroscience Society is not mandatory. The prize will be awarded during the Göttingen Meeting of the German Neuroscience society to be held on March 13 – 16, 2013. The prize winner will present her/his work in a plenary lecture.

Till Photonics Technology Prize of the German Neuroscience Society 2013 is given to Dr. Ilka Diester, Ernst-Strüngmann-Institute (ESI) for neurosciences in cooperation with the Max-Planck Society in recognition of her seminal work using optogenetics for neuroscience research in non-human primates. Optogenetics combine genetic and optical techniques in order to stimulate specific cell types and circuits with light. To this end light sensitive membrane proteins (so-called opsins) which can be found in microorganisms such as algae were built into the cell membrane of neurons. Neurons which were treatment that way became light sensitive as well. They are activated or de-activated when light with a specific wave length is shed on them, depending on the type of opsin which was used. In rodents optogenetics have already been well established, however using this technique in non-human primates was a new challenge. Ilka Diester was able to establish optogenetic techniques at the Stanford University in the motor system of non-human primates and thus pioneered the future use of optogentics.
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