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Ernst Bamberg (b. (1940-11-09) November 9, 1940 (age 83) in Krefeld) is a German biophysicist and director emeritus of the Department of Biophysical Chemistry at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics.[1][2]


Bamberg received his PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Basel in 1971, and a habilitation in biophysical chemistry from the University of Konstanz in 1976. He was a Heisenberg fellow from 1979 to 1983, when he became head of an independent working group at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt/Main. In 1988, he became an adjunct professor at Frankfurt University, which named him a full professor of biophysical chemistry in 1993, and professor emeritus in 2009. He has also been a director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics since 1993, and a senior investigator at the Cluster of Excellence Frankfurt (CEF) since 2008.[1][2][3]


Bamberg's research focuses on channelrhodopsins. With Georg Nagel and Peter Hegemann, who were attempting to identify the proteins that allow Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a green alga, to move toward light using photocurrents, Bamberg was part of the first research team to isolate and characterize channelrhodopsin 2 (ChR2). “We had a hard time trying to convince people that it was true,” he told Nature later, but "Before we published the first papers [showing that algal proteins could generate currents in eukaryotic cells], we applied for a patent where we gave to our fantasy a free run about the possible applications of channelrhodopsins on electrically excitable cells, including some biomedical applications.”[4] In 2005, Bamberg and Nagel worked with Ed Boyden, Karl Deisseroth, and Feng Zhang to demonstrate that this light-gated channel could be used as an actuator to control neural activity, helping to lay the foundations for the study of optogenetics.[5]

Selected awards

  • 1987 Boris Rajewsky Preis für Biophysik
  • 2009 Stifterverbandspreis des Stifterverbands für die Deutsche Wissenschaft
  • 2010 Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences, with Peter Hegemann and Georg Nagel[6]
  • 2010 Karl Heinz Beckurts Prize for Technological Innovation
  • 2011 Member of the Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences[7]
  • 2012 K. J. Zülch-Preis der Gertrud Reemtsma Stiftung, für neurologische Grundlagenforschung (basic neuroscience), with Peter Hegemann, Georg Nagel, and Karl Deisseroth[8]
  • 2013 The Brain Prize from the Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation, with Ed Boyden, Karl Deisseroth, Peter Hegemann, Gero Miesenböck, and Georg Nagel[9]
  • 2019 Citation Laureate from the Web of Science Group[10]
  • 2019 Rumford Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, with Ed Boyden, Karl Deisseroth, Peter Hegemann, Gero Miesenböck, and Georg Nagel[11][12]


  1. ^ a b "Prof. Dr. Ernst Bamberg | Max Planck Institute of Biophysics |". Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  2. ^ a b "Bamberg, Ernst". Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  3. ^ "CEF-MC : People". Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  4. ^ Baker, Monya (2011-11-29). "The author file: Ernst Bamberg". Nature Methods. 8 (12): 985. doi:10.1038/nmeth.1789. ISSN 1548-7105. PMID 22238772. S2CID 315949.
  5. ^ "ChR2 coming of age". Nature Neuroscience. 18 (9): 1191. 2015-08-26. doi:10.1038/nn.4103. ISSN 1546-1726. PMID 26308975.
  6. ^ "Wiley: Ninth Annual Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences Awarded to Dr. Peter Hegemann, Dr. Georg Nagel, and Dr. Ernst Bamberg". Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  7. ^ "Mitglieder". Archived from the original on 2020-06-29. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  8. ^ "Zülch-Preis 2012 für Begründer der Optogenetik". (in German). Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  9. ^ "Prize Winners". Lundbeckfonden. Archived from the original on 2020-05-13. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  10. ^ "Researchers of Nobel class: Citation Laureates 2019". Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  11. ^ "Rumford Prize Awarded for the Invention and Refinement of Optogenetics". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  12. ^ "Ernst Bamberg". Lundbeckfonden. Archived from the original on 2019-04-10. Retrieved 2019-04-10.

External links