September 9 2011

FMI PhD student receives Debiopharm Award

Today, Volker Busskamp, former PhD student of Botond Roska's laboratory at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI), receives the 'Junior Debiopharm Group Life Sciences Award 2011'. The prize is awarded this year for the first time to two young researchers in Switzerland, in the field of cellular and molecular biology, based on excellence in previous work and originality of future projects.

Busskamp receives this award for his "spectacular PhD thesis in applied neuroscience" as the Debiopharm GroupTM comments. During his thesis at the FMI, he developed and validated an optogenetic method to restore vision using an archaebacterial protein. Introducing this protein into remaining but nonfunctional cone photoreceptors of the retina of blind mice not only reactivated the cone cells' ability to interact with the rest of the visual system, it also prompted sophisticating visually guided behavior. With this gene therapeutic method Busskamp has found a powerful approach that could eventually help a subset of retinitis pigmentosa patients.

Currently, Busskamp is pursuing postdoctoral projects in the laboratory of George Church at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA

» Announcement of Debiopharm GroupTM

» More about Volker Busskamp's project

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