Bert Sakmann

Prof. Dr. Bert Sakmann

Nationality
Germany 
Institution
Max-Planck-Institut für Medizinische Forschung Heidelberg 
Award
1991 
Discipline
Physiology or Medicine 
Co-recipients
Prof. Dr. Erwin Neher 

Biography on the Official Web Site of the Nobel Prize

CURRICULUM VITAE

Bert Sakmann was born in Stuttgart on June 12, 1942. He studied medicine in Tubingen, Freiburg, Berlin, Paris and Munich. After his taking the state examination in Munich, he joined the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry there in 1967 and worked in the Department of Neurophysiology with Prof. Otto Creutzfeldt. From 1971 to 1973 he was a “postdoctoral fellow” and worked with Prof. Sir Bernard Katz (Nobel Prize in 1970) in London. In 1974 he graduated as Dr. Med. with a thesis topic titled “Electrophysiology of neural Light Adaptation in the Retina of a Cat.”
It was at this time that he started his co-operation with Erwin Neher in the Department for Neurobiology (headed by O. D. Creutzfeldt) of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. Both of them were members in a team working on membrane physiology. They developed new methods for recording minute membrane currents by means of which they were able to observe exactly how electrical signals are conveyed from cell to cell. In 1982 Sakmann qualified as a professor at Göttingen with his paper entitled “Observation of the Interaction of Transmitter and Receptor on a Molecular Level: High-Resolution Current Measurements on small Membrane Areas of Protozoans and Cell-free Membrane Fragments”.
In 1983 he became a scientific member of the Max Planck Institute and, together with Neher, was in charge of the new team for “membrane biophysics”. In 1985 he became the director of the department for cellular physiology at the Max Planck Institute which mainly dealt with the study of the molecular foundations of signal transmission in the central and peripheral nervous system. In 1989 Sakmann went to the MPI for Medical Research in Heidelberg as director of the department for cellular physiology where he was appointed professor in theoretical medicine shortly afterwards. Together with Erwin Neher, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1991 "for their discoveries concerning the function of single ion channels in cells". Bert is married to Christiane, and they have two sons and a daughter. Christiane is a highly successful ophthalmologist specializing in pediatric ophthalmology.
This text and the picture of the Nobel Laureate were taken from the book: "NOBELS Nobel Laureates photographed by Peter Badge" (WILEY-VCH, 2008).

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Bert Sakmann

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