On Monday 26 September, Trinity College, the University of Melbourne, welcomed Laureate Professor Bert Sakmann (Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry) as a Visiting Scholar.
Professor Sakmann, with physicist Erwin Neher, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1991 for their discoveries on single channels in cells enabled by their invention of the patch-clamp technique.
This ground-breaking technical achievement made it possible to examine the operation of individual ion channel proteins; this technique forged new paths in the study of membrane physiology and the creation of novel therapeutics targeting ion channels. The Nobel Prize committee credited the two scientists with revolutionising modern biology.
Recently, Professor Sakmann’s research has focused on the functional anatomy of circuits in the brain – specifically the cerebral cortex – that form the basis of simple behaviours such as decision making. His research involves the use of large scale, high resolution light and electron microscopic techniques to reconstruct the wiring of different cell types in the layers of the brain.
Trinity College Warden, Associate Professor Andrew McGowan, said it was an honour to welcome Professor Sakmann to Trinity.
‘It’s amazing to welcome someone of Professor Sakmann’s stature and knowledge to Trinity College and we’re delighted he is able to be here and share his experiences, inspiration and achievements with our students,’ the Warden said.