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Professor Dr

Ernst Bamberg

Year of election: 2011
Section: Biochemistry and Biophysics
City: Frankfurt (M.)
Country: Germany
CV Ernst Bamberg - English (PDF)
CV Ernst Bamberg - German (PDF)

Research

Research Priorities: Channelrhodopsins (transport proteins), light-gated ions, information transfer between nerve cells, optogenetics

Ernst Bamberg is a German biophysicist. His research priority are channelrhodopsins. The discovery of these special light-gated ion channels in cell membranes has enabled researchers to intervene in the transfer of information between nerve cells. The discovery that light can reversibly activate and deactivate nerve cells both in cell cultures and in the brains of living animals with high temporal and spatial accuracy, has opened up a variety of new study possibilities in neurosciences.

Together with Georg Nagel and Peter Hegemann, Ernst Bamberg discovered the channelrhodopsine (ChR1, 2) in the single-cell freshwater alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Using them as light-gated ion channels in combination with the light-driven Cl-pump Halorhodopsin (NphR) from halophilic bacteria in electrically excitable cells has led to the development of optogenetics, a method which is now used around world. In the future, this could help recover sight in certain types of sight loss. Thus, this development has triggered a revolution in neurobiology in particular, as light can now reversibly activate (ChR2) or deactivate (NphR) nerve cells both in cell cultures and in the brains of living animals with high temporal and, especially, previously unknown spatial accuracy.

Optogenetics offers possible biomedical approaches for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as macular degeneration and Parkinson’s disease. Ernst Bamberg develops new optogenetic tools for neurobiological and potential biomedical applications.

Career

  • since 1993 Director, Department of Biophysical Chemistry, and Scientific Member, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • 1993-2009 Professor, Biophysical Chemistry, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • 1983 Head of working group, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • 1979-1983 Heisenberg Fellow, German Research Foundation (DFG), Germany
  • 1977 Habilitation, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany
  • since 1971 University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany
  • 1971 Promotion, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • Studies of Physical Chemistry, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Auszeichnungen und Mitgliedschaften

  • 2019 Rumford Prize, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, USA
  • 2019 Clarivate Citation Laureate, Clarivate
  • 2013 The Brain Prize, Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2012 K. J. Zülch Prize, Gertrud Reemtsma Foundation, Cologne, Germany
  • since 2011 Member, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Germany
  • 2010 Karl Heinz Beckurts Preis, Karl Heinz Beckurts-Stiftung, Essen, Germany
  • 2010 Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences, together with Georg Nagel and Peter Hegemann, Wiley Foundation, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, USA
  • 2009 Stifterverband Prize, Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Humanities and Sciences in Germany, Essen, Germany
  • 1987 Boris Rajewsky Preis für Biophysik, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  • 1979 Heisenberg Fellow, German Research Foundation (DFG), Germany

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