Award for outstanding publications of young scientists 

Tobias Rose and Co-first authors Matthias Meier und Etienne Serbe receive „Young Scientist Award“

The awardees and their department heads, from left to right: Tobias Bonhoeffer, Tobias Rose, Matthias Meier, Alexander Borst. Not present: Etienne Serbe

Publishing the own scientific results, often after years of research, is a big moment for every scientist. Especially, since the 17th century only results published in a scientific journal are accepted as scientific valid. By publishing, other scientists worldwide can review the results and may use this knowledge e.g. for advanced studies.

Publishing is especially important for young scientists at the beginning of their career. The “Young Scientist Award” of the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology acknowledges this by honoring the best publications of young scientists from the institute once a year.

The award comes with a prize money of 1.000 Euros. For 2016, the “Young Scientist Award” goes to Tobias Rose and the co-first authors Matthias Meier and Etienne Serbe.

The publications

Tobias Rose

Stable perception in the adult brain

Neurons return to their original state after a change

The adult brain has learned to calculate an image of its environment from sensory information. If the input signals change, however, even the adult brain is able to adapt − and, ideally, to return to its original activity patterns once the perturbation has ceased. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried have now shown in mice that this ability is due to the properties of individual neurons. Their findings demonstrate that individual cells adjust strongly to changes in the environment but after the environment returns to its original state it is again the individual neurons which reassume their initial response properties. This could explain why despite substantial plasticity the perception in the adult brain is rather stable and why the brain does not have to continuously relearn everything. (Science, June 2016)

Tobias Rose studied and graduated in Göttingen at the Georg-August-University and the European Neuroscience Institute before he went as a postdoctoral fellow to the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel (Switzerland). Since 2010, Tobias Rose leads a project group in the department Synapses – Circuits – Plasticity of Tobias Bonhoeffer at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology.

Matthias Meier und Etienne Serbe

Cells that show where things are going

Neurobiologists characterize nerve cells that detect motion by light changes

The ability to see the direction in which something is moving is vital for survival. Only in this way is it possible to avoid predators, capture prey or, as humans in a modern world, cross a road safely. However, the direction of motion is not explicitly represented at the level of the photoreceptors but rather must be calculated by subsequent layers of nerve cells. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried have now discovered that, in fruit flies, four classes of nerve cell are involved in calculating directionally selective signals. This is strikingly different from mathematical models of motion detection discussed in the literature so far. (Neuron, February 2016)

Matthias Meier studied Biology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. He did the research for his bachelor and PhD theses in the department Circuits - Computation - Models of Alexander Borst at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, where he works as a postdoc since 2016.

Etienne Serbe studied at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich where gained his PhD in 2016. For his studies, he worked at the Max-Planck-Institute of Neurobiology in the department Circuits - Computation - Models of Alexander, where he works at present as a postdoc.

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