Winners of the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation Award Lecture at the FENS Forum 2022

07 March 2022

FENS News, Neuroscience News, Society & Partner News

The Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation are delighted to announce the recipients of the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation Award in Translational Neuroscience 2022: Prof. Christian Lüscher (CH) and Dr José-Alain Sahel (FR).

FENS and the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation would like to congratulate both winners for their outstanding scientific achievements. The award will be presented during the FENS Forum where the two awardees will jointly give the Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation Award Lecture on 12 July at 13:30 CEST Paris, France.

About the winners

Prof. Christian Lüscher is a neurologist and full professor of neuroscience at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Prof. Lüscher’s research group focuses on the circuit alteration underlying drug addiction and neural mechanisms of motivated behaviour. The group has identified drug-evoked synaptic plasticity as a cellular substrate of circuit alterations. Several projects now aim to translate circuit neuroscience advances into human research. He is behind the idea of “optogenetically inspired deep brain stimulation” (short OptoDBS), drawing blueprints for novel stimulation protocols based on optogenetic investigations. Prof. Lüscher is a member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences senate and serves on many local, national, and international committees to defend the scientific community’s interests. Since 2019 he has been the president of the basic science section of the Geneva medical faculty.

Dr José-Alain Sahel is a clinician-scientist who developed a groundbreaking neuroprotective therapeutic strategy to rescue sight, now in translation, and launched first-in-man studies with electronic retinal implants, gene and cell therapies to restore vision in patients with retinal dystrophies. He is the lead ophthalmologist on a clinical trial documenting for the first time partial visual recovery after optogenetic therapy in blind patients with late-stage inherited retinal disease. Dr Sahel is a distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Pittsburgh School of Medicine (US), Exceptional Class Professor of Ophthalmology at Sorbonne Université, Founding Director of Institut de la Vision, and Director of Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire FOReSIGHT (FR).

About the Award

The Chica and Heinz Schaller Foundation Award in Translational Neuroscience recognises significant achievements by an individual in translational science, particularly those where fundamental and conceptual understanding of the nervous system has been brought to support clinically relevant progress. Scientists who have made sustained and significant steps in the translation of neuroscience into other scientific areas and domains and vice versa may also be recognised

About FENS

Founded in 1998 at the first Forum of European Neuroscience, the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) is the main organisation for neuroscience in Europe. FENS currently represents 44 European national and single discipline neuroscience societies with more than 20,000 member scientists from 33 European countries. FENS promotes neuroscience research to policy-makers, funding bodies and the general public, both regionally and internationally. FENS promotes excellence in neuroscience research and facilitates exchanges and networking between neuroscientists within the European Research Area and beyond.