Neher Seminar PDF Print E-mail
Written by J Philipp Benz   
Friday, 21 November 2008 14:09

On Wednesday, October 15th our graduate program „Protein Dynamics in Health and Disease“ had the great pleasure to host the Nobel Laureate (Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 1991) Prof. Dr. Erwin Neher from the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Göttingen) here in Munich. Prof. Neher spent the morning with our group to talk and discuss with the PhD students in a more „private“ atmosphere and then gave an exciting seminar in the LMU-Gene Center describing his latest research. 

One of the foremost aims of our self-organized graduate program is to invite and host interesting and scientifically outstanding speakers from all over the world. Doing so, seminars are taking place on a regular basis. For the second time now we were able to successfully invite a Nobel Laureate as speaker in this series. After Prof. Dr. Günther Blobel (Rockefeller University, New York) visited us in July of last year, we were extremely happy that Prof. Dr. Erwin Neher (MPI for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen) positively responded to our invitation and came to Munich this time. Prof. Neher got the Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine in 1991 together with his colleague Bert Sakmann for their groundbreaking work on the function of single ion channels in cell membranes.

 Prof. Neher giving his talk at the LMU-Gene Center


Needless to say, we did not just ask him for a lecture but also wanted to spend some more “private” time with him. Usually, opportunities to talk with a “real” Nobel Laureate, uninterrupted by at least a handful of big bosses or group leaders, are rather scarce for us PhD students. This is why we spent the morning with Prof. Neher over a delicious “Weißwurst-Frühstück” at the ´Augustinerkeller`, which he surely appreciated, being a Bavarian by birth himself, now living in the “far north” of Germany. During these hours we got the chance to ask lots of questions concerning his work and vita, which he nicely and willingly answered. Surely, it will now be much easier for us to follow in the footsteps of a Nobel Laureate!

 Prof. Neher in discussion with the Elite Network students during the “Weißwurst-Frühstück”

In the afternoon, Prof. Neher gave his much-awaited lecture on the more recent work of his group in the Dept. of Membrane Biophysics at the MPI for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. The talk with the title: “Multiple Roles of Calcium Ions in the Regulation of Neurotransmitter Release“ was held in the big lecture hall of the LMU-Gene Center in Großhadern, which was just short of cramped full. This interesting topic was followed by a lively discussion with the audience and a big buffet for everybody afterwards. Unfortunately, Prof. Neher then had to leave us, but he had to get on his way for his next seminar on the following day – again an invitation by an international graduate program. Obviously, Prof. Neher likes to come in contact with students, and it was this attitude that we liked at him so much, and which made our day with him something truly extraordinary.

p.s.: a big thanks to the organizing team for this event, Julia Rohrberg and Katharina Gebendorfer !

J. Philipp Benz

PhD student at the LMU Munich, Dept. Biology I – Botany, and member of the International Graduate Program „Protein Dynamics in Health and Disease“


Last Updated on Friday, 28 November 2008 12:18