Lasker Award for GDNÄ member

Professor Dieter Oesterhelt receives high honor for his merits in optogenetics

A pioneer in optogenetics, longtime GDNÄ member and director emeritus at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Professor Dieter Oesterhelt, has been awarded the most prestigious biomedical research prize in the United States.

Oesterhelt will receive the Albert Lasker Award 2021, which is endowed with $250,000, together with his academic student Professor Peter Hegemann of Berlin’s Humboldt University and Professor Karl Deisseroth, who conducts research at Stanford University. The three scientists are being honored for the discovery of light-sensitive proteins in the membrane of unicellular organisms and their use in the further development of optogenetics. With their research, the laureates paved the way for numerous medical applications, including new therapeutic approaches to blindness. Many recipients of the Lasker Prize went on to win the Nobel Prize.

© Krella, Archiv der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Berlin

Dieter Oesterhelt (left) with his doctoral supervisor and Nobel laureate Feodor Lynen, 1967