Awarding of a AvH professorship to Dietmar Schmucker

Nine top researchers from abroad were honored with Alexander von Humboldt Professorships in Berlin on Thursday evening. It is Germany's highest endowed research prize of up to five million euros. The award is intended to win renowned researchers from abroad for German universities. The President of the Humboldt Foundation Hans-Christian Pape presented the prizes during a festive event with the Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek. Prof. Dr. Dietmar Schmucker will now build a foundation-oriented neuroscientific center in Bonn.

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Award: Prof. Dr. Dietmar Schmucker (center) with the President of the Humboldt Foundation Hans-Christian Pape (left) and the rector of the University of Bonn Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Michael Hoch (right). (c) Photo: Humboldt Foundation / David Ausserhofer

"Anyone who comes to Germany with the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship should make a difference", emphasized the President of the Humboldt Foundation Hans-Christian Pape. "They have come to change, they should bring fresh wind into our system. This also applies to the dialogue with the public: Get involved, talk about your research, get involved, use your knowledge and your mind!"

Prof. Schmucker, a renowned molecular neuroscientist, studies the genetic basis that leads to the interconnection of nerve cells in the brain. In the human brain, billions of nerve cells are linked together in complex networks. Malfunctions in their interconnection are often causes of neurological diseases. Prof. Schmucker has developed methods and techniques that help to understand which molecular mechanisms are underlying the interconnection of the nervous system. His basic research also has great medical relevance. Prof. Schmucker plans to build a basic neuroscientific center in Bonn. It will involve existing research institutes, including the LIMES Institute of the University of Bonn, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the caesar research center. Bonn will continue to expand its importance as a neuroscience beacon.

"Professor Schmucker is a leading international brain researcher. He has discovered important fundamentals of the genetic coding of synapse formation in the central nervous system and will decisively strengthen the neurosciences at the Bonn location", says Prof. Dr. Waldemar Kolanus, Managing Director of the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn.

Prof. Dr. Dietmar Schmucker, born in Germany, has been a professor and group leader at the VIB (Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie) and Neuronal Wiring Laboratory of the Center for Brain and Disease Research at Katholieke Universiteit (K.U.) Leuven, Belgium. After completing his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, he moved to the US in 1996 as a postdoc, first at Rockefeller University in New York, then at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He then moved to Harvard Medical School in Boston as Assistant and later Associate Professor. In 2011, Schmucker was elected a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

Press Release of the Humboldt Foundation: