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Update Friday 13 March: Please note this lecture has been postponed.

Black and white formal portrait of Charles Sherrington.

The Sir Charles Sherrington Prize Lecture 2020 is to take place on Monday 27 April 2020 at 4pm in the Large Lecture Theatre, Sherrington Building.

sherrington_lecture_2020_commsposter.pngSir Charles Sherrington (1857 - 1952) came to the Department in 1913 as the Waynflete Professor of Physiology; Charles was recommended for the chair unanimously without any other candidates being considered. He said of Oxford that its real function in the world “is to teach…what is not yet known”.

While at Oxford, Sherrington kept hundreds of microscope slides in a specially constructed box labelled Sir Charles Sherrington’s Histology Demonstration Slideswhich has been preserved and is kept in the Department today.

Sherrington received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1932 with Edgar Adrian for their work on the functions of neurons. Prior to the work of Sherrington and Adrian, it was widely accepted that reflexes occurred as isolated activity within a reflex arc; instead Sherrington and Adrian showed that reflexes require integrated activation and demonstrated reciprocal innervation of muscles, a principle now known as Sherrington's Law. 

The talk held in his honour, entitled Deconstructing the molecular logic of neural circuit formation: One molecule at a time, is due to be given by Professor Thomas Südhof, MD ForMemRS Nobel Laureate.

Thomas Christian Südhof obtained his M.D. and doctoral degrees from the University of Göttingen in 1982. He performed his doctoral thesis work at the Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie in Göttingen with Prof. Victor P. Whittaker on the biophysical structure of secretory granules. From 1983-1986, Südhof trained as a postdoctoral fellow with Drs. Mike Brown and Joe Goldstein at UT Southwestern in Dallas, TX, and elucidated the structure, expression and cholesterol-dependent regulation of the LDL receptor gene. Südhof began his independent career as an assistant professor at UT Southwestern in 1986.

When Südhof started his laboratory, he decided to switch from cholesterol metabolism to neuroscience, and to pursue a molecular characterization of synaptic transmission. His work initially focused on the mechanism of neurotransmitter release which is the first step in synaptic transmission, and whose molecular basis was completely unknown in 1986. Later on, Südhof's work increasingly turned to the analysis of synapse formation and specification, processes that mediate the initial assembly of synapses, regulate their maintenance and elimination, and determine their properties. More information on his laboratory can be found here. Südhof served on the faculty of UT Southwestern in Dallas until 2008, and among others was the founding chair of the Department of Neuroscience at that institution. In 2008, Südhof moved to Stanford, and became the Avram Goldstein Professor in the School of Medicine at Stanford University. In addition, Südhof has been an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1986.

In 2013, Südhof won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He shared the prize with James Rothman, PhD, a former Stanford professor of biochemistry, and Randy Schekman, PhD, who earned his doctorate at Stanford under the late Arthur Kornberg, MD, another winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The three were awarded the prize "for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells." Click here for more information.

Following his lecture, there will be a drinks and canapes reception in the Sherrington Reception Foyer. All members of the University of Oxford welcome!