Neher, Edwin

Neher, Edwin, 1944–, German biophysicist, Ph.D. Technical Univ. of Munich, 1970. He has been a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany, since 1972. Neher received the 1991 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with Bert Sakmann for their joint discoveries concerning the functioning of ion channels in cell membranes. Working together, Neher and Sakmann not only established that ion channels exist and described how they function but also developed a method, known as the patch-clamp technique, that can register the minuscule electrical currents produced by the ions passing through the cell membrane. Neher also elucidated the process by which certain cells release histamine and hormones. Their work revolutionized the field of cell biology, opening new paths for studying disease mechanisms as well as for developing drugs to treat disease.

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