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Erwin Neher

Erwin Neher
File:Erwin neher 2007 lindau.jpg
Erwin Neher (2007)
Born (1944-03-20) 20 March 1944 (age 71)
Landsberg am Lech, Bavaria, Germany
Nationality German
Fields biophysics
Institutions University of Göttingen
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Yale University
Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
Alma mater Technical University of Munich
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Doctoral advisor Template:If empty
Academic advisors Charles F. Stevens
Known for patch clamp
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1991)
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize (1987)
Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize (1986)

Erwin Neher (born 20 March 1944) is a German biophysicist, specializing in the field of cell physiology. For significant contribution in the field, in 1991 he was awarded, along with Bert Sakmann, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "their discoveries concerning the function of single ion channels in cells".

Early life and education

Neher was born in Landsberg am Lech, Upper Bavaria, the son of Elisabeth (née Pfeiffer), a teacher, and Franz Xaver Neher, an executive at a dairy company.[1] He studied physics at the Technical University of Munich from 1963 to 1966.

In 1966, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the US. He spent a year at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and earned a Masters Degree in Biophysics.

In 2003 Neher was one of 22 Nobel Laureates who signed the Humanist Manifesto.[2]


In 1986, he was awarded the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University together with Bert Sakmann. In 1987, he received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which is the highest honour awarded in German research. Along with Bert Sakmann, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1991 for "their discoveries concerning the function of single ion channels in cells".[3] Neher and Sakmann were the first to record the currents of single ion channels on a live cell (they were first recorded using the lipid bilayer method) through their development of the patch-clamp technique,[4][5][6][7] a project Neher began as a postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of Charles F. Stevens at Yale.

He is now a director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen and heads its Department for Membrane Biophysics. He is also a Professor at the University of Göttingen and a co-chair of the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Göttingen.



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Notable Signers". Humanism and Its Aspirations. American Humanist Association. Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  3. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1991". Retrieved 16 May 2011. 
  4. ^ Neher E, Sakmann B (March 1992). "The patch clamp technique". Scientific American 266 (3): 44–51. PMID 1374932. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0392-44. 
  5. ^ Neher E (1992). "Correction for liquid junction potentials in patch clamp experiments". Methods in Enzymology. Methods in Enzymology 207: 123–31. ISBN 978-0-12-182108-1. PMID 1528115. doi:10.1016/0076-6879(92)07008-C. 
  6. ^ Neher E (September 1988). "The use of the patch clamp technique to study second messenger-mediated cellular events". Neuroscience 26 (3): 727–34. PMID 2462183. doi:10.1016/0306-4522(88)90094-2. 
  7. ^ Neher E, Sakmann B, Steinbach JH (July 1978). "The extracellular patch clamp: a method for resolving currents through individual open channels in biological membranes". Pflügers Archiv 375 (2): 219–28. PMID 567789. doi:10.1007/BF00584247. 


Neher's published works include the following:

  • Elektronische Messtechnik in der Physiologie. Berlin, New York, Springer-Verlag, 1974.
  • Single-channel recording / edited by Bert Sakmann and Erwin Neher. New York : Plenum Press, c1983. ISBN 0-306-41419-8
  • Single-channel recording / edited by Bert Sakmann and Erwin Neher. 2nd ed. New York : Plenum Press, c1995. ISBN 0-306-44870-X

External links

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