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[eng] Professor Peter Jonas to receive the Adolf Fick Prize 2009

Freiburg, 17.02.2009

[eng] Professor Peter Jonas to receive the Adolf Fick Prize 2009

Prof. Dr. Peter Jonas

The Adolf Fick Prize is bestowed by the Physics & Medical Society Würzburg. It is considered to be the most respected prize in physiology in the German-speaking area and includes a cash award of 10,000 euros. Granted only once every five years, the award is named in honor of the renowned German physiologist Adolf Eugen Fick (1829-1901), discoverer of Fick’s laws of diffusion.

Prof. Peter Jonas has served as Director of the Institute of Physiology at the University of Freiburg since 1995. At present he is also affiliated with the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), where he conducts research at the School of Life Sciences – Lifenet. Prof. Jonas is a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and was awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in 2006.

In his outstanding studies Prof. Jonas examines the communication between neurons in cerebral networks. The main focus of his research is on the hippocampus, which is the part of the cerebrum that plays a central role in learning and that is responsible for complex memory activities. Prof. Jonas is especially interested in finding out how electrical processes in the nerves are transformed into chemical signals: in other words, how does an action potential that travels along a nerve fiber cause the release of transmitters? After all, these transmitters carry the information across the synaptic cleft from a nerve cell to the neighboring neurons.

Prof. Jonas will receive the Adolf Fick Prize in March during the 88th Annual Congress of the German Society of Physiology (DPG). Hans Spemann and Erwin Neher belong to those in the past who have received this distinction.