In awarding the Eric Kandel Young Neuroscientists Prize, the Hertie Foundation seeks to promote junior researchers in the neurosciences by helping to further their careers in this field. The prize is named after the American Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel and is awarded every two years. Professor Kandel, who is of European descent, has close ties with the Hertie Foundation.
The prize comprises two parts: the prize money of € 50,000, which can be used at the discretion of the prize winner, and a sum totalling € 25,000, earmarked for establishing a collaborative relationship with a mentor. This mentoring structure allows the prize winner to work alongside an eminent international researcher in the field, further promoting his or her career. Since 2010 the Eric Kandel Prize is under the patronage of the Federal Minister of Education and Research, and is announced in cooperation with the der Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS).
The deadline for nominations for the Eric Kandel Young Neuroscientists Prize 2013 was November 1, 2012. The prize will be awarded in autumn 2013 in Frankfurt by Prof. Eric Kandel.
In June 2011, the Eric Kandel Young Neuroscientists Prize awarded for the second time. In January 2011, an international jury had selected Prof. Dr. Henrik Mouritsen.
Prof. Dr. Henrik Mouritsen was born 1971 in Aalborg, Denmark and since 2007 he is Professor at the University of Oldenburg where he is the head of the working group „Neurosensory Sciences and Animal Navigation".
Using a variety of innovative and multidisciplinary techniques, which had never before been used in bird navigation research, Prof. Mouritsen and his working group for instance discovered four brain regions, which the birds use to detect the Earth’s magnetic field: two brain regions process light-dependent magnetic compass signals originating in the eyes. The other two brain regions receives their input from the upper beak, where a putative iron-mineral-based magnetic sensor has been reported. Prof. Mouritsen has already received several recognitions for his research achievements. For instance, in 2006, he was granted a Lichtenberg professorship by the Volkswagen Foundation.
The Eric Kandel Young Neuroscientists Prize was awarded to Prof. Dr. Henrik Mouritsen during a ceremony at the Paulskirche in Frankfurt at 1st June 2011 by Dr. Michael Endres (Chairman of the Hertie Foundation), Prof. Dr. Sten Grillner (President of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies) and Prof. Dr. Eric R. Kandel (Columbia University New York).
In 2009, the Eric Kandel Young Neuroscientists Prize was awarded for the very first time. In September 2009, an international jury selected Dr. Simon Fisher.
Simon E. Fisher is director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and an honorary research fellow at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford, UK. His research focuses on how speech- and language-related genes influence the brain. In 1998, Simon Fischer and Anthony Monaco discovered that a family afflicted by speech-related disorders (articulation disorders) had a band on chromosome 7 that the scientists could link to the family’s language impairment. By conducting genetic tests on this family and another boy, who was not related to them but exhibited the same symptoms, they were able to identify a gene known as FOXP2 for the first time. Simon Fisher has already received numerous scientific prizes and honours for his research performance. In 2008, for example, he held the London Royal Society’s Francis Crick Lecture.
The Eric Kandel Young Neuroscientists Prize was awarded to Simon Fisher at a gala ceremony at Zurich University on 6 October 2009. The mentoring programme linked to the prize will support his research into the relationship between genes, the brain and language.
Dr Alexander Grychtolik
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