Nobel Prize Erwin Neher meets Hunimed Students

On May 16 Professor Erwin Neher, Nobel Prize in Medicine 1991, has visited Humanitas University. After his lecture on neuronal communication, Hunimed Students have had the possibility to interview him about his research career in neuroscience. Read below some of his answers.

Prof Neher con studenti

How did you get to research?
By yourself or did you have a guidance?

ORIANI HUMANITAS Maggio 2016 (53)I was interested in solving problems. I think that the most important aspect is the ability to identify a problem that really captivates you, it is the only way to overcome the problem and find a solution, as you need to have an internal drive that makes you want to solve that problem. If you don’t have that drive you should not be a researcher.

What does success mean to you? Has it changed your career?

In the beginning there should be interest in how things works, make experiments, and if things work that already is success. If you find out something new that you want to share with other people and then you have recognition for it, win prizes, that gives you lots of opportunities.

ritrattoEuropean brain project, what do you think about it?

It is very controversial, there has been a lot of criticism about it. In my opinion the goals that have been set – reproducing the brain in a computer – are wrong; the brain is so complex, with so many functions and parameters we still do not know, that creating a efficient model appears really hard. So I think this level of approach is wrong and maybe the project has a bad guidance.

On the other hand, the US brain project has in my opinion the right basis and the top researchers working on the matter so I feel that their goals are more realistic.

Where would you advice a student to go, if he wanted to pursue a career in neuroscience research?

ORIANI HUMANITAS Maggio 2016 (23)I think the better place would be a place where you can do independent research. Find a good lab in which people is working on the problem you want to solve. Good labs are spread around the world, both in the EU and in the US. I think it is worth to try the “US experience” at least once because they are the global leaders and most things starts from there.

Read more about Erwin Neher.

Prof Neher da lontanoSECONDO INVIO2


Humanitas is a highly specialized Hospital, Research and Teaching Center. Built around centers for the prevention and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological and orthopedic disease – together with an Ophthalmic Center and a Fertility Center – Humanitas also operates a highly specialised Emergency Department.