Awarding the research of young scientists

Johannes Larsch and Daniel Gehrlach receive the Young Scientist Award 2019

October 14, 2020

True to the motto "postponed is not canceled", the Young Scientist Award, endowed with 1000 €, was also awarded this year - due to Coronavirus pandemic, however, somewhat later than originally planned. Aiming to recognize outstanding research of young scientists, this year´s award went to Johannes Larsch and Daniel Gehrlach for their publications in Current Biology and Nature Neuroscience. While Johannes analyzed the shoaling behavior in fish, Daniel studied the insular cortex and the negative emotions that it processes. By doing so, both scientists – despite their differing research topics – significantly added knowledge to the basic neuronal mechanisms that underlie different patterns of behavior.

The YSA 2019 (from left to right): Alexander Borst, Nadine Gogolla, Daniel Gehrlach, Rainer Uhl, Johannes Larsch, Herwig Baier

The award-winning publications and authors

Johannes Larsch

Fisch-Freundschaft mit springendem Punkt

How to recognize your own kind

November 01, 2018
What does it take for a fish to recognise another fish? Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried show, that a simple dot, animated in specific way, is sufficient to trigger shoaling.

Further information on the award-winning publication more


Johannes Larsch studied Biology at the University of Konstanz and obtained his doctoral degree at the Rockefeller University in New York, USA. In 2015 he joined the department Genes – Circuits – Behavior of Herwig Baier for his postdoctoral studies, where he continued his work as a project leader in 2018.

Daniel Gehrlach

Eine Insel für negative Emotionen
The insular cortex is an important, yet almost hidden part of the cerebral cortex. Here, sensory information, bodily states, feelings and emotions come together. However, how the insular cortex processes this information and how this affects behavior is largely unknown - knowledge that would help us to better understand the mechanisms involved in depression, anxiety and eating disorders, for example. Nadine Gogolla and her team at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology were now able to show how the insular cortex of mice processes such strong feelings as fear or bodily discomfort, and how this affects their behavior.

Further information on the award-winning publication more

Daniel Gehrlach studied Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the University of Applied Sciences in Biberach. After that, he completed the International Graduate Program in Medical Neurosciences at the Charité Medical University Berlin. In 2014, he started his doctoral studies in the research group `Circuits for emotions´ of Nadine Gogolla, where he successfully graduated in 2020.

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