Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you will not see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Professor Gero Miesenböck, the Waynflete Professor of Physiology and Director of the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, is one of three scientists awarded The Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine.

Gero Miesenböck has won the Massry Prize 2016 for his work on optogeneticsProfessor Gero Miesenböck has received The Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine 2020 "for the development of optogenetics, a technology that has revolutionized neuroscience."

Optogenetics is a technique that uses light to control the activity of nerve cells. It provides a direct means of probing the organisation of neural circuits and of identifying the brain processes underlying perception, action, emotion, and thought. Professor Miesenböck was the first to demonstrate optogenetic control of neural activity and animal behaviour. His foundational studies led to an explosion in optogenetic applications and technical improvements.The field has ultimately transformed neuroscientific research and opened new possibilities for the treatment of brain disorders. 

On receiving the award, Professor Miesenböck said: “I’m delighted that the selection committee looked carefully at the history of optogenetics and recognised the first discoveries that launched the field.”

Head of Department Professor David Paterson said: "This is a major achievement representing international excellence in research and discovery. The Department is delighted that Gero has been duly recognised."

Professor Miesenböck shares the award with Peter Hegemann, Hertie Professor for Neuroscience and Head of the Department of Biophysics at the Humboldt University of Berlin, and Georg Nagel, Professor for Molecular Plant-Physiology, Department for Molecular Plant-Physiology and Biophysics–Botany I at the University of Würzburg.

The Shaw Prize consists of three annual prizes: Astronomy, Life Science and Medicine, and Mathematical Sciences, each bearing a monetary award of $1.2 million. The Prize honours individuals who have achieved significant breakthroughs in academic and scientific research and whose works have resulted in a positive and profound impact on mankind.

Read more on The Shaw Prize Foundation website.

Read more about Professor Miesenböck's development of optogenetics on the Oxford University Medium Blog.

Similar stories

Scott Waddell honoured by the Academy of Medical Sciences

Awards and Honours Head of Department's News

Congratulations are in order to Professor Scott Waddell FMedSci on his election to The Academy of Medical Sciences.

Nchimunya Nelisa Tebeka wins Diabetes UK Early Career Investigator Award

Awards and Honours EDI News Students

Congratulations are in order to Rhodes Scholar Nchimunya Nelisa Tebeka, who has been awarded this year's Diabetes UK Early Career Investigator Award for her DPhil work. This award is awarded for the best basic or clinical science oral abstract presentation at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference.

Gero Miesenböck to deliver The Physiological Society's Annual Review Prize Lecture

Awards and Honours CNCB

The Annual Review Prize Lecture is The Physiological Society's most prestigious lecture.

New research grant to Pawel Swietach to further understanding of propionic acidemia

Awards and Honours Cardiac Theme

A new collaborative project led by the Swietach group funded by the Propionic Acidemia Foundation will investigate the disease mechanisms and risk factors for cardiac disease caused by a severe inherited disorder.