December 06, 2012

FMI scientist Pico Caroni receives prestigious Théodore Ott Prize

Pico Caroni, Group leader at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research and professor at the University of Basel, has received the prestigious Théodore Ott Prize of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. He receives the award for his life-time achievements in neurobiological research. The prize is awarded only every fifth year and is the most prestigious award for neurobiologists in Switzerland.

Pico Caroni is a Group Leader at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) and professor at the University of Basel. He and his 12-strong team are investigating how experiences and learning are stored in the brain. He studies the mechanisms controlling the formation, the maintenance and the turnover of synaptic connections in the brain, namely in the hippocampus. His studies in recent years have shown how different experiences shape the structure of the brain and how these changes themselves influence experience and learning, in turn. He has been a leader in exploring the links between neuronal plasticity, learning, adaptation and memory. He also studies how these processes are impaired in disease.

Commenting on the award, Pico Caroni said: “I am of course very honored by this award, particularly because it is one that takes into account a track record, instead of individual studies. I am forever grateful to current and past members of our research group for the creativity they contributed, and to the FMI for giving us the opportunity to explore the unknown in our own way. In recent years, we have been able to gain new insights into processes of learning and memory, particularly those involving the remodeling of defined neuronal microcircuits in the brain. But every discovery leads to new sets of questions, and the brain will fascinate and occupy us with new riddles for many more years to come. This, and the joy of discovering things together with others, is motivation for me to continue my research endeavors.”

The Théodore Ott Prize is Switzerland's highest honor for neurobiologists. The award is granted every fifth year by the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. It honors the lifetime achievements of a scientist in basic neurobiological research.

The official award ceremony will take place between June 5-7, 2013, during the 2nd Congress of the Swiss Federation of Clinical Neuro-Societies (SFCNS) in Montreux

Apart from Pico Caroni, Adriano Aguzzi of the University of Zürich was honored with the same prize.

» More about Pico Caroni

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