Primate Center: Neurobiology Unit established

Göttingen, January 9th, 2014. The German primate Center (DPZ) in Göttingen has a new research unit: The Research Group Neurobiology headed by Prof. Hansjörg Scherberger has become the second unit of the Neuroscience section. Last year, an external evaluation committee positively evaluated the work of the research group, which was the foundation of the decision of the DPZ supervisory board. At the same time the executive committee of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen appointed Hansjörg Scherberger as permanent professor. The researchers of the new unit work on the development of neuroprosthetics: they investigate how to decode neuronal signals that control primate hand functions and engineer brain-machine interfaces for artificial hands that transcript these signals.

The Research Group Neurobiology, which has worked since 2008 at the German Primate Center (DPZ) under the direction of Prof. Hansjörg Scherberger, has now become the latest unit of the DPZ. An external evaluation committee, which was established by the DPZ and the university, positively evaluated the work of the research group last spring. Research results, acquisition of third party funding, and the amount of teaching during the evaluation period all exceeded the expectations of the DPZ and the university, stated the committee in its conclusion. Consecutively, the supervisory board of the DPZ approved the establishment of a permanent unit based of this report. Concurrently, the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen appointed Hansjörg Scherberger as permanent professor.

The Research Unit Neurobiology investigates the neurophysiology of primate hand functions with the ultimate goal of developing neuroprosthetics for human patients. Neuroprosthetics are auxiliaries that are able to register movement signals directly from the brain and might help movement-disabled patients in the future.

“We are very happy that our group has been evaluated positively,” says the new unit head Hansjörg Scherberger, “and we’re looking forward to continuing our work at the DPZ.” Before he started his research at the DPZ, the physician and mathematician worked at the University of Zürich (Switzerland) and at the California Institute of Technology (USA).

“The establishment of the Neurobiology unit is the result of the excellent work that Hansjörg Scherberger and his team have committed during the past years,” comments Stefan Treue, director of the DPZ. “Advancements in the application-oriented development of neuroprosthetics extend the neuroscientific profile of our institute perfectly.”

With its latest research unit the DPZ currently runs nine units in three sections. The management of the institute plans to further extend the research profile of the institute soon with new units for aging research and imaging technology.

Prof. Dr. med. Hansjörg Scherberger
Tel: +49 551 3851-494

Astrid Slizewski (public relations department)
Tel: +49 551 3851-359

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The German Primate Center (DPZ) in Göttingen, Germany, conducts basic research on and with primates in the areas of infectious diseases, neurosciences and organismic biology. In addition, it operates four field stations abroad and is a competence and reference center for primate research. The DPZ is one of the 89 research and infrastructure institutions of the Leibnitz Association in Germany.

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