Humboldt Professorship for Dietmar Schmucker
Dietmar Schmucker is investigating the genetic principles that lead to the interconnection of nerve cells in the brain. The neurobiologist conducts research at the Center for Brain and Disease Research at the VIB Institute and the University of Leuven (Belgium). He has now been selected for a Humboldt Professorship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. It is hoped that this will encourage him to join the University of Bonn. With up to five million euros, the highest-endowed research prize in Germany is used to attract renowned scientists from abroad and to conduct long-term research at German universities.
The neuroscientist is particularly interested in the biological principles that control the development and function of the circuits of nerve cells in the brain. The focus is on molecular genetics. “In the human brain, only a few thousand different genes determine quadrillions of synapses that interconnect the nerve cells,” says Prof. Dr. Dietmar Schmucker from the Center for Brain and Disease Research of the VIB Institute (Belgium). His central question: Which molecular mechanisms make the human brain so complex?
In Leuven the renowned scientist is investigating this question using fruit flies, frogs and mice as models. In Bonn he is in contact with researchers at the LIMES Institute of the University of Bonn, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the Caesar Research Center. “This interdisciplinary networking of neurobiology, cell biology and immunobiology in Bonn is a promising approach,” said Schmucker. “Furthermore, these partners have prepared well for future research challenges.”
The University of Bonn has nominated the neurobiologist for a Humboldt Research Professorship. “Professor Schmucker is a leading international brain researcher. He has discovered important principles of the genetic coding of synapse formation in the central nervous system and will strongly enhance the neurosciences in Bonn,” said Prof. Dr. Waldemar Kolanus, Managing Director of the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn. The Humboldt Foundation approved the nomination in a selection meeting. The appointment negotiations are currently underway.
Dietmar Schmucker studied biology at the University of Ulm, Kyoto University (Japan) and Ludwig Maximilians University Munich. He completed his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen and at the LMU in Munich. Dr. Schmucker worked as a postdoc at the Rockefeller University (New York City) and at the University of California, Los Angeles. At Harvard Medical School (Boston) he started his independent laboratory as an assistant and then associate professor. Since the end of 2009 he has been professor at the University of Leuven, where he is leading a major project on the developmental biology of neuronal circuits. He is a member of the renowned European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and has been awarded several prizes during his career.
Prof. Dr. Dietmar Schmucker
VIB-KU Leuven, Center for Brain & Disease Research