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Silvia Arber has been awarded the 2022 Brain Prize

18.3.2022 | She receives the prize for mapping movement-controlling neurons in the brain and spine.
The neurobiologist Silvia Arber has been awarded the prestigious Brain Prize from the Lundbeck Foundation, alongside colleagues Ole Kiehn and Martyn Goulding. Worth €1.3 million, The Brain Prize is the world’s largest neuroscience research award. It will be presented to the recipients by the Crown Prince of Denmark in May.

Prof Arber is based the Biozentrum Center for Molecular Life Sciences at the University of Basel, as well as the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel, Switzerland. Her work is focused on the circuits of neurons that control movement in the body. For example, she has shown how groups of neurons in the brainstem – the ‘stalk’ that connects the brain with the spinal cord – work with neurons in the spine to manage how mice move their front legs.

“An international group of three neuroscientists have revolutionized our understanding of the cell types and circuits that control how we move,” wrote the Lundbeck Foundation of the winners. “Theirs is a remarkable discovery story in fundamental neuroscience that highlights the need and paves the way for cell type-specific diagnostics and interventions in disorders of movement.”

“Being awarded the Brain Prize for our work on the organization and function of neuronal circuits controlling body movements is a huge honor, and it is really a tribute to a continuous team achievement throughout many years,” said Prof Arber in a press release.

She also highlighted how her remarkable family has shaped her as a scientist in her autobiography for the Brain Prize. “One might say I learned to be a researcher during my childhood: I frequently went to the laboratory with my father as a child, enjoying counting bacterial colonies.” Her father, Werner Arber, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine when she was ten. Her young sister, Caroline Arber, also took up the science mantle and now leads a research group in Lausanne.

  (© Emilie Steinmark / AcademiaNet /

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