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Bert Sakmann, Medicine (born 1942)

In 1991 Bert Sakmann (born 1942) received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for discoveries about the functions of individual ion channels in cells (together with Erwin Neher). Following studies in medicine at the Universities of Tübingen, Freiburg, Berlin, Paris and Munich he completed his doctorate at the University of Göttingen in 1974. From 1974 to 1988 he worked at Göttingen’s Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. Sakmann and Neher were the first to prove that the cell envelope contains minute ion channels controlling many bodily functions. The two scientists developed a new method with which they were able to decode electrical signals and switching processes of electrically excitable cells and investigate the influence of individual substances on the ion channels at molecular level. Bert Sakmann is now Professor and Director of the Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg.