Bert Sakmann, PhD, MD
Emeritus Scientific Member

Emeritus Scientific Members

Cortical column in silico

The focus of this group is to elucidate the  the functional anatomy of circuits in the cerebral cortex that form the basis of simple behavior (e.g. decision making). The group’s aim is the reconstruction of a cortical column in silico. This involves the use of light- and electron-microscopic techniques to reconstruct the wiring of different cell types in the layers of a column. Electrophysiological reactions of individual cell types to sub-threshold and above-threshold levels and the results of in-vitro-pair-registration will be used to stimulate the reconstructed network realistically. Eventually, this will hopefully allow the determination of those parts of the network that trigger sensory initiated behavior. This should elucidate how the network changes in its structure and function during the process of learning.

Bert Sakmann studied medicine at the Universities of Tuebingen and Munich and received his qualification as professor at the University of Goettingen.  He worked as research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, as  British Council Fellow at the University College London und became research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. In 1983, Bert Sakmann was appointed Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, where he headed the department Cell Physiology. In 1988, he moved as Director to the Max Planck Institute for Biomedical Research in Heidelberg. In 2008, Bert Sakman came to the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiologie, where he established and heads the extended emeritus group "Cortical column in silico".

In 1991, together with Erwin Neher, Bert Sakmann earned the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for discoveries concerning the single ion channels in cell membranes". The list of further awards and honors Bert Sakmann received for his work is long and he was bestowed no less than nine honorary doctorates.

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