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Neurobiologist Hannah Monyer Receives Lautenschläger Research Prize

No. 74ce | 04/12/2020

Heidelberg neurobiologist Prof. Dr Hannah Monyer, an internationally renowned expert in the field of brain research, is being honoured with the 2020 Lautenschläger Research Prize. The prize is endowed with 250,000 euros. The award sponsor Dr h.c. Manfred Lautenschläger is Honorary Senator at the Heidelberg University. The awards is Germany's most highly endowed research prize from a private donor.

Hannah Monyer
© Sabine Arndt/Universität Heideberg

Hannah Monyer's research focuses on the molecular mechanisms that lead to synchronous neural network activities and support cognitive processes learning and remembering. "In this field, Hannah Moyer combines intelligent questions with highly innovative experimental approaches and does not shy away from expanding beyond the boundaries of her own discipline to uncover the fundamental secrets of neural networks. She can rightly be called a pioneer of modern systemic neuro and behavioural science anchored in molecular biology," says Manfred Lautenschläger of this year's prize winner.

Since 1999 Hannah Monyer has been Medical Director of Clinical Neurobiology at Heidelberg University Hospital – a cooperational division of the Medical Faculty Heidelberg, Heidelberg University, and the German Cancer Research Center. Monyer was instrumental in several groundbreaking and internationally highly visible discoveries, especially related to the so-called inhibitory interneurons and projection neurons – the brain's "master clocks". She has recently turned her attention to the function of specific inhibitory interneurons in neural "circuits" that exhibit an effect up to the behavioural level.

Hannah Monyer studied medicine and earned her PhD at Heidelberg University. She worked as a resident physician in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at in of the Central Institute of Mental Health Mannheim, subsequently joining the Department of Paediatric Neurology at the University Children's Hospital in Lübeck. In 1986, Hannah Monyer joined Stanford University (USA) as a postdoctoral research fellow and three years later came to the Center for Molecular Biology at Heidelberg University. She received her authorisation to teach biochemistry in 1993, becoming an endowed professor the following year and establishing her own research group. In addition to other prestigious awards for her achievements, Hannah Monyer received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize from the German Research Foundation in 2004.

The Lautenschläger Research Prize is awarded every two years for special accomplishments in leading-edge research. The distinction is intended to honour scientists from Heidelberg University as well as other national and international researchers with special ties to te Heidelberg University through scientific cooperation. Entrepreneur Manfred Lautenschläger established the award in 2001 to foster active researchers in the discovery process. An interdisciplinary board of internationally networked scientists selects the potential prize recipients, who can be nominated for the Lautenschläger Research Prize from any discipline.

The awards ceremony for Germany's most highly endowed research prize from a private donor was originally scheduled for the beginning of December 2020 but because of pandemic restrictions has been rescheduled to 7 May 2021.

Source: Press release of the Heidelberg University

With more than 3,000 employees, the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) is Germany’s largest biomedical research institute. DKFZ scientists identify cancer risk factors, investigate how cancer progresses and develop new cancer prevention strategies. They are also developing new methods to diagnose tumors more precisely and treat cancer patients more successfully. The DKFZ's Cancer Information Service (KID) provides patients, interested citizens and experts with individual answers to questions relating to cancer.

To transfer promising approaches from cancer research to the clinic and thus improve the prognosis of cancer patients, the DKFZ cooperates with excellent research institutions and university hospitals throughout Germany:

  • National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT, 6 sites)
  • German Cancer Consortium (DKTK, 8 sites)
  • Hopp Children's Cancer Center (KiTZ) Heidelberg
  • Helmholtz Institute for Translational Oncology (HI-TRON Mainz) - A Helmholtz Institute of the DKFZ
  • DKFZ-Hector Cancer Institute at the University Medical Center Mannheim
  • National Cancer Prevention Center (jointly with German Cancer Aid)
The DKFZ is 90 percent financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.


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