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Prof. Dr. Christian Büchel

Cognitive Neurosciences, University Hospital in Hamburg-Eppendorf

Prof. Dr. med. Christian Büchel

Prof. Dr. med. Christian Büchel

© DFG / David Ausserhofer

Christian Büchel has been awarded the Leibniz Prize for his ground-breaking research into the characterisation of neuronal networks, which play a role in such complex brain processes as learning, memory, speech, fear, and pain. Büchel's studies cover a broad range of topics and are notable for their interdisciplinary approach. In his cognitive neuro-scientific studies Büchel showed that the functional interaction of the brain's various regions are subordinate to higher cognitive processes. In other research he studied the mechanisms which help to regulate our sense of fear and apprehension, and he was the first scientist to show that the amygdala – a core area of the brain – plays a key role in human fear conditioning. Equally significant was Büchel's observation that neuronal activities in the spinal cord already can be modulated by cognitive factors, and affect perception in a manner similar to pain. His often highly technical research couples cognitive research with basic research in neurobiology to produce findings that are also relevant to clinical practice.

Christian Büchel studied medicine in Heidelberg. Parallel to this, he also trained as a neurological specialist in Essen, Jena, and London. After undertaking several years of research in Great Britain, he was appointed to the Chair of Systemic Neuroscience at the University Hospital in Hamburg-Eppendorf in 2005. Büchel has previously received several national and international awards for his research.