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April 25, 2016

"ERC Advanced Investigator Grant" for Peter Scheiffele and again for Silvia Arber

Prof. Peter Scheiffele from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, and Prof. Silvia Arber, researcher at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) and the Biozentrum, have both been awarded the prestigious "ERC Advanced Investigator” Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). Each of the two scientists will be supported with a contribution of about 2.5 million euros over the next five years. Silvia Arber is one of the few who have received this prestigious research grant for the second time.

Prof. Silvia Arber

The ERC supports Silvia Arber’s project "Control of Action Diversification by Descending Motor Circuits". Silvia Arber, Professor for Neurobiology at the Biozentrum, University of Basel and the FMI, investigates organization and function of neuronal circuits controlling motor behavior. Her research focuses on the interplay between, brain, spinal cord and muscles to be able to assign particular movement patterns to specific neuronal circuits.  A thorough understanding of these interactions is essential for the treatment of motor disorders.

Silvia Arber studied biology at the Biozentrum in Basel and received her PhD from the FMI in 1995. She subsequently worked as a postdoc at Columbia University, New York. In 2000, Silvia Arber returned to Basel, where she conducts research and teaches as a Professor of Neurobiology and Cell Biology at the Biozentrum and FMI. Silvia Arber has been distinguished with numerous awards including the Pfizer Research Prize (1998), National Latsis Prize (2003), Schellenberg Prize (2005), the Friedrich Miescher Award (2008) as well as the Otto Naegeli Prize and the City of Basel Science Award in 2014.

Prof. Peter Scheiffele

Peter Scheiffele received the research grant for his project "Alternative Splicing Codes for Synaptic Specificity". He is a Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Biozentrum, University of Basel. He explores the mechanisms of formation of neuronal networks in the central nervous system, in particular the development of neuronal connections called synapses. Scheiffele discovered that certain neuronal adhesion molecules play an important role in synapse formation. His work on neuronal connections contributes to the fundamental understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, and led to the identification of innovative strategies for treatment.

Peter Scheiffele studied biochemistry at the FU Berlin and received his doctorate in 1998 from the University of Heidelberg and the EMBL Heidelberg. He subsequently trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Francisco. From 2001, he conducted research as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology & Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University, New York, and was appointed in 2008 to the University of Basel. For his research, the neurobiologist has received various awards, including the "Searle Scholar Award" in 2002, the "John Merck Scholar Award" in 2004 as well as the “Robert Bing Prize” of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMW) in 2014.

ERC Advanced Investigator Grant

By awarding the "ERC Advanced Investigator Grant", the European Research Council (ERC) acknowledges the excellent research achievements of scientists and supports them in the implementation of innovative and promising research projects. With Prof. Silvia Arber (2010), Prof. Guy Cornelis (2011), Prof. Urs Jenal (2012) and Christoph Dehio (2013) this prestigious and highly-competitive research contribution has now been awarded for the sixth time to researchers from the Biozentrum.

Contact: Communications, Heike Sacher