Erwin NeherDepartment of Membrane Biophysics, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany F1000 Faculty Member (since 04 July 2001)
Professor, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Department of Membrane Biophysics, Göttingen
MSc (Physics), University of Wisconsin (1967)
Dr rer nat (Physics), Institute of Technology, Munich (1970)
Research associate at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany (1972-1975 and 1976-1982) and as a guest in the laboratory of Dr ChF Stevens at Yale University, Department of Physiology, New Haven, CT (1975-1976)
Fairchild Scholar, California Institute of Technology; Pasadena, USA (1989)
Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology together with B Sakmann (1991)
Member of the Order 'Pour le Merite' (1995)
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
Molecular Mechanisms of Exocytosis, Neurotransmitter Release, and Short Term Synaptic Plasticity.
In order to understand how the brain handles its information flow and adjusts synaptic connections on the second and subsecond timescale, one has to understand all aspects of synaptic transmission ranging from availability of vesicles for exocytosis, presynaptic electrophysiology, Ca++ signalling, the process of exocytosis, and postsynaptic neurotransmitter action. Our work concentrates on presynaptic aspects. We use neuronal cell cultures and brain slices for studying mechanisms of short term plasticity, such as depression and paired pulse facilitation. The Calyx of Held, a specialized synapse in the auditory pathway, offers unique possibilities for simultaneous pre- and postsynaptic voltage clamping. This allows a quantitative analysis of the relationship between [Ca++] and transmitter release. We recently developed techniques to express mutated synaptic proteins in the Calyx terminal, such that the functional role of specific molecules can be studied on the single-cell level.
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