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2023 - Preisträger

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Schilling Research Award of the German Neuroscience Society 2023

The Schilling Research Award of the German Neuroscience Society 2023 was bestowed on Lukas Groschner, Project Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence in Martinsried.

Nervous systems are thought to derive much of their computational power from the arithmetic operations performed at the level of single nerve cells. To understand how information is processed within complex neural circuits, it is necessary to know the computations that take place in individual circuit elements.

Lukas Groschner receives the Schilling Research Award for his contribution to a biophysical understanding of how single neurons perform arithmetic operations. Focusing on well-defined linear and nonlinear computations in the brain of the fruit fly, he identified molecular mechanisms that allow a nerve cell to add and to multiply synaptic signals. The first discovery concerns a particular ion channel make-up that enables neurons in the olfactory system to integrate signals over time in the lead-up to a perceptual judgment. The second mechanism provides an unconventional solution to the problem of how a single neuron in the visual system can perform multiplication-like arithmetic. Unlike addition, the process of multiplicative disinhibition is independent of voltage-gated ion channels. It relies on the coincidence of excitation and release from shunting inhibition. Both discoveries bridge biophysics, brain science, and behaviour. They were made possible by the use of the fruit fly as a model organism in which moderate complexity, well-charted connectivity, and the ability to record and control the activities of identified neurons have aligned to make mechanistic ideas testable.

Lukas Groschner studied medicine at the Medical University of Graz and received a PhD from the University of Oxford. He carried out postdoctoral research at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology.


                  This prize is awarded by the GNS, biannually in the odd years, for outstanding achievements in the field of brain research. The prize of 20,000 Euro is intended to support young scientists up to 5 years after completion of the thesis considering individual conditions as specified in the DFG regulations.

A prerequisite for a successful application is outstanding research work documented by publications. The candidate should work in a German laboratory or work as a German abroad. Both self-applications and nominations are invited. Applications from all areas of neuroscience are welcome. Membership in the GNS is not mandatory.

The prize will be awarded at the Göttingen meeting ( 22 – 25 March 2023), where the prize winner will give a lecture.

Applications must be assembled into a single PDF file and sent to the GNS office by email (gibson@mdc-berlin.de) no later than 10 Oktober 2022.

The application must include:
1. CV (max. 1 page)
2. List of publications
3. Summary highlighting the impact of the research (max. 2 pages)
4. A list of renowned researchers willing to provide a letter of recommendation on request.