Jan Bures (1926 – 2012) in memoriam

03 September 2012


03 September, 2012 in FENS News

Jan Bures (1926 – 2012) in memoriam

On August 24, 2012, the renowned Czeck neuroscientist Jan Bures passed away.

With great sadness we would like to inform the international neuroscience community that on August 24, 2012, one of the most distinguished and renowned neuroscientists, Jan Bureš, left us forever at the age of 86 years.

The name of Jan Bureš is connected with important studies of the mechanisms underlying learning and memory. Along with his wife Olga, he established in Prague already in the 1950s a neuroscience school that attracted the attention of many young as well as more senior neuroscientists. During the fifty year history of the Bureš laboratory, more than one hundred PhD students, postdocs, and neuroscientists passed through, coming from 27 countries around the world. Most of their names can be recognized among the authors of the hundreds of Bureš publications, which concern the mechanisms of spreading depression, single unit as well as behavioral studies of learning and memory function, and in his later years particularly studies of the mechanisms underlying spatial memory. Dr. Bureš always devoted a large part of his activity to the development of new electrophysiological and behavioral methods. Together with his wife Olga and other colleagues, he published three noteworthy monographs, one of which in particular, his 1967 book focusing on electrophysiological methods in biological research, was translated into several foreign languages and widely used by neuroscientists throughout the world.

Jan Bureš was one of the founders of the International Brain Research Organization and remained a strong supporter of the organization throughout his life. During the 6th IBRO World Congress of Neuroscience in Prague in 2003, he served as the Honorary President of the Congress. Jan received many important awards and honors during his life, among them the most distinguished was his election to the National Academy of Sciences of the USA in 1995 as the only Czech scientist so honored.

With the passing of Jan Bureš, the Czech as well as the world neuroscience community is losing a great personality as well as a great guide in the difficult task of understanding the complexity of brain function. His name will forever be included among the list of those who made major contributions to the discovery of the brain’s secrets, particularly as regards the mechanisms of learning and memory, and he will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues around the world.

President, Czech Neuroscience Society Prague,

August 30, 2012