Peter Hegemann and colleagues win 2021 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award

September 24, 2021 | New York

For the discovery of light-sensitive microbial proteins that can activate or silence individual brain cells and for their use in developing optogenetics—a revolutionary technique for neuroscience” 

Peter Hegemann (HU Berlin), Dieter Oesterhelt (Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry) and Karl Deisseroth (Stanford University) awarded Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, 2021 (Source: The Lasker Award)

The 2021 Lasker Basic Medical Research Award honours the three scientists for the discovery of light-sensitive microbial rhodopsins and for harnessing their properties to develop a technology that enables researchers to control brain-cell activity by using light beams to trigger ion flow into and out of neurons. The work of Dieter Oesterhelt, Peter Hegemann, and Karl Deisseroth has advanced technologies for probing brain function and opened pathways for the better understanding of neurodegenerative disease and mental illnesses. Scientists can now study neurons and their circuitry with stunning clarity and probe their functional underpinnings with unprecedented resolution. Hundreds of laboratories around the world are applying optogenetics to tease apart adaptive and maladaptive behaviours, such as hunger, thirst, anxiety, and social behaviour including parenting” (Source: HU Press)

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