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Peter Jonas received Leibniz Prize

Peter Jonas, Professor for neurophysiology at the University of Freiburg and scientist at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, together with ten further scientists was selected to receive the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) on December 2nd, 2005 (Dezember 2005).

Valued at 1.55 million Euro per scientist, the Leibniz Prize is the highest honour awarded in German research. The prize funds research over a time period of five years and can be used flexibly by the prize winners according to their specific requirements.

Peter Jonas investigates the mechanisms of communication between neuronal cells in the brain. The brain consists of billions of highly specialized neurons, each of which builds a multitude of connections, so called synapses, which pass neuronal signals from one cell to the next. Although signal conduction always follows the same general principles, it varies in details depending on neuronal type and synapse. Jonas studies the exact properties of different neurons and synapses with regard to the functional significance of this diversity for brain function. A detailed understanding of the function of individual cells and connections are a prerequisite for the development of models that explain the function of neuronal networks in the greater context of the brain.

After his studies of human medicine and his PhD thesis in Gießen, Peter Jonas joined the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, where he received his qualification for a teaching career in higher education ("Habilitation") in 1992. In 1994 he became professor at the Technical University of Munich and moved to the Institute of Physiology at the University of Freiburg in 1995. Amongst the many awards that Jonas received is the Heinz Maier Leibnitz Prize of the DFG and the Max Planck Research prize.