Prof. Dr. Alexander Borst receives FENS EJN Research Award 2014

Recognition of outstanding scientific work in any area of neuroscience

March 14, 2013

Prof. Dr. Alexander Borst, director at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried, receives the Research Award of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS). Every two years, FENS and the European Journal of Neuroscience (EJN) awards the prize which comes with a prize money of 10,000 British pounds. The prize recognizes outstanding scientific achievements in all areas of neuroscience. The award will be bestowed during the FENS Forum in July 2014 in Milan.

Alexander Borst

How do nerve cells compute? This is the question driving Alexander Borst's research for many decades now. It is the simple but rather profound observation that on the one hand, the brain performs astonishingly complex computations that are best described in mathematical terms, and on the other hand, the brain does that with neurons where ions flow across the membrane eliciting excitatory and inhibitory potentials or spikes. How these two aspects go together, i.e. the biophysics of neural computation, is at the centre of his research interest.

As an example for neural computation, Alexander Borst studies motion vision in flies, bringing together a variety of methods like computer modelling, behavioural studies, electrophysiology, calcium imaging and genetics. This work is absolutely cutting edge and world class and will on a fundamental level deepen our understanding of motion vision. His research is truly innovative and multi-disciplinary including experimental and theoretical work; he is also implementing his knowledge about fly motion vision into the development of miniature airborne vehicles (the RoboFly project). Alexander Borst’s contributions over the past ten years have made him a leading figure in fly motion vision worldwide.


Alexander Borst (*1957, Bad Neustadt/S) studied Biology at the University Würzburg, where he gained his PhD in 1984. He worked as a post-doc at the Max Planck Institute of biological Cybernetics Tübingen. Afterwards, he headed an independent research group at the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max Planck Society. Between 1999 and 2001 he worked as professor at the University of California in Berkeley (USA) and was appointed director at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in 2001. Here he leads the department Circuits - Computation - Models. Alexander Borst is member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), and the Bavarian Academy of Science.

The Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS)

FENS was founded 1998 in Berlin and represents large number of national European neuroscience societies and several monodisciplinary societies. FENS was founded with the goals of advancing research and education in neuroscience and representing neuroscience research in the European Commission, IBRO, and other granting bodies. FENS is the European partner of the American Society for Neuroscience.

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