The Otto Loewi Award
The Otto Loewi Award is a prestigious award for neuroscience research in Austria provided biannually by the Austrian Neuroscience Association (ANA). It is named after the Austrian-American Pharmacologist and Physiologist Otto Loewi, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology in 1936 for the discovery of chemical neurotransmission.
The aim of Otto Loewi Award is the promotion of neuroscience research in Austria by awarding this prize for outstanding scientific contributions in an active field of neuroscience. The particular intention is to honor research achieved in Austria. The awared is offered biannually.
In 2019 the Otto-Loewi-Award is endowed with € 5.300,- sponsored by the Peter und Traudl Engelhorn-Stiftung
Neuroscientists working (or having worked) in Austria who are not older than 40 years have been invited to apply for the Otto-Loewi-Award. The proposals are reviewed and decided on by a prize committee consisting of five qualified proponents chaired by the president of the ANA. The awards are presented during the biannual ANA Meetings.
The price is awarded by a committee consisting of 5 persons:
The award committee may solicit reviews from experts. Decisions consider the recommendations written down in the San Francisco Declaration
Otto Loewi Awardee 2021
The 2019 Otto Loewi Prize of the Austrian Neuroscience Association goes to David Vandael.
David Vandael started his scientific career in 2006 at the Heinrich Heine University in Duesseldorf, where he became fascinated by pacemaker mechanisms in the brain. In 2007, he pursued with a PhD to study this complex phenomenon in the laboratory of Prof. Emilio Carbone at the University of Turin. After having established a solid biophysical basis on ion channels, in 2014 he joined the laboratory of Prof. Peter Jonas at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria. In the Jonas lab he studied synapses at the unitary level through paired patch-clamp recordings from single release terminals and postsynaptic partner neurons. The main finding of his postdoctoral work is that natural dentate gyrus granule cell activity can trigger a form of plasticity called post tetanic potentiation (PTP) at the level of the CA3 pyramidal cell. He showed that this depends on an increase in the number of presynaptic readily releasable synaptic vesicles (a vesicle engram) and that these vesicles can be stored for physiologically relevant periods of time. Moreover he discovered a unique glutamate mediated retrograde signaling mechanism that fine-tunes PTP at the mossy fiber bouton CA3 pyramidal cell synapse. He is currently (since March 2021) working as a Marie Curie fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN) in the laboratory of Prof. Maarten Kole.
Current research interests:
At present David Vandael is studying the role of PV+ interneuron axon myelination in synaptic precision in hippocampal microcircuits. His aim is to ultimately bridge subcellular neuroscience with systems neuroscience. He is interested in finding out how interneuron axon myelination will affect sharp-wave ripple generation and therefore memory encoding.
Otto Loewi Awardee 2019
The 2019 Otto Loewi Prize of the Austrian Neuroscience Association goes to Roman Romanov.
Dr. Romanov is Research Assistant at the Department of Molecular Neurosciences of the Center for Brain Research, Medical University of Vienna.
The prize is named after the Nobel Laureate Otto Loewi, a German-born pharmacologist who was Professor in Graz until 1938, when he was forced to leave the country. The charitable Peter and Traudl Engelhorn sponsored the 2019 prize.
Award Committee: Sigismund Huck (ANA President), Wulf Haubensak (IMP, Vienna), Thomas Klausberger (CBR, Medical University Vienna), Eric Hosy (Bordeaux Neurocampus, Université de Bordeaux, France), Michael Freissmuth (Center for Physiology and Pharmacology, Medical University Vienna).
Roman Romanov, Center for Brain Research, Medical University of Vienna, with ANA President Sigismund Huck and Michael Freissmuth, representing the Peter and Traudl Engelhorn Stiftung.
This is how Roman Romanov describes his current research interests: I am focussing on unraveling the molecular and cellular organization of the hypothalamus, a brain region critical for the orchestration of the most fundamental physiological needs, including food intake, sleep and reproduction. Furthermore, through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the hypothalamus is centrally involved in the response to stress, a precipitating factor for the development of severe and highly prevalent psychiatric disorders, including depression. Thus, enhancing our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying hypothalamic function may be essential for the development of new preventive and therapeutic strategies for some of the most relevant public health concerns of our times.
Otto Loewi Awardee 2017
The 2017 Otto Loewi Price of the Austrian Neuroscience Association goes to Ruth Drdla-Schutting.
Dr. Drdla-Schutting is Associate Professor at the Center for Brain Research, Medical University of Vienna. Her particular interest are mechanisms of pain in the spinal cord in general and of pathological pain in particular.
Award committee: Ludwig Aigner (ANA President), Monica Di Luca (University of Milan), Michael Hausser (University College London), Christian Humpel (University of Innsbruck), Kristin Tessmar-Raible (Max Perutz Laboratories, Uni Vienna).
Center for Brain Research, Medical University of Vienna, with ANA President Ludwig Aigner
PhD 2008, Medical University of Vienna
Main research topic
Synaptic long-term potentiation at synapses in the superficial spinal cord dorsal horn is a mechanism thought to underlie the transition of acute to chronic pain. It can be induced by strong noxious stimuli such as inflammation or trauma, or upon withdrawal of opioids. I am investigating the mechanisms of induction, maintenance and reversal of this form of synaptic plasticity in the nociceptive system. My current work is focused on the role of glial cells and the effects of neuron-glial interactions on synaptic transmission and plasticity at synapses in the superficial layers of the spinal cord dorsal horn.
Links to past Otto Loewi Awardees: