Gero Miesenboeck, Waynflete Professor of Physiology and Professorial Fellow at Magdalen, has been awarded the 2016 Massry Prize for his research on optogenetics. He shares the award with Karl Deisseroth of Stanford University and Peter Hegemann of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
Optogenetics uses light-operated switches to control the electrical impulses of nerve cells. The ability to remote-control neuronal function has had a profound impact on neuroscience—it provides a direct means of probing the organisation of neural circuits and of identifying the brain processes underlying perception, action, emotion, and thought.
Established by the Meira and Shaul G. Massry Foundation, the Massry Prize has been awarded since 1996 to recognize outstanding contributions to the biomedical sciences and the advancement of health. Of the previous 40 winners of the prize, 21 have also received a Lasker Award and 12 a Nobel Prize.
This year’s Massry Prize will be presented on 22 October at Beverly Hills City Hall. The three laureates will speak about their award-winning research in companion events at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles.