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Research Grant Brings Neurobiologist To Woods Hole Laboratory

May 8, 2000

Nikon Inc., and the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, have named a scholar in the field of neurobiology as the recipient of the prestigious Year 2000 Nikon Inc./MBL Research Fellowship.

Dr. Peter Saggau, of the Division of Neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, is this year's fellowship recipient. Dr. Saggau's work finds direct applications in the study of epilepsy, learning and memory. His research interest is in communication between nerve cells, specifically in changes of synaptic transmission strength as it constantly occurs during brain activity. To this end, he uses advanced optical imaging techniques that permit observation of the functioning of live nerve cells. During his stay at the MBL, he will focus on individual pairs of pre- and post-synaptic nerve terminals, and he will use optical techniques to help enhance the understanding of synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity in the central nervous system of mammals. Dr. Saggau's lab has previously developed new microscope techniques that employ ultra-fast scanning lasers to optically stimulate and record from nerve cells. These techniques have helped achieve greater temporal and spatial optical resolution, allowing the researchers to view brain functioning more clearly.

Dr. Saggau, a native of Germany, is widely published as a pioneer in using optical recording techniques to study synaptic events. He earned his M.S. from the Technical University of Munich and his Ph.D. (magna cum laude) at the University of Munich, both in Germany. Since 1990, he has been a professor at Baylor College of Medicine and also serves as an adjunct professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Bioengineering at Rice University in Houston.

The Nikon Fellowship provides travel, housing, supplies and the use of a completely equipped laboratory to a distinguished life scientist selected by the MBL each year. Created under the auspices of the Nikon Partners in Research(TM) program, the fellowship is one of the most comprehensive and innovative of its kind given in the life sciences. Nikon's Partners in Research Program seeks out innovative and respected scientists across the U.S. to provide a partnership for the development of new technologies and approaches to research.

The Marine Biological Laboratory is a nonprofit institution dedicated to teaching and research in the life sciences. In addition to its well-known summer programs, it also provides year-round facilities for biological study.

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