MICHAEL-Prize – Award Winner 2003

The Michael-Prize 2003

The 2003 Michael-Prize was awarded to


Klinik für Epileptologie
University of Bonn

Rostock (Germany)


Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Köhling

for his work on
„Spatio-temporal patterns of neuronal activity. Analysis of optical imaging data using geometric shape matching“


Epilepsy surgery offers the unique possibility to study mechanisms of epilepsy and epileptogenesis not only in animal model systems, but in chronically epileptic tissue of epilepsy patients itself. This years's recipient of the Michael Prize, Prof. Dr. Köhling, grasped this opportunity early in his career, and integrated this experimental approach into an exciting and innovative research program. One of the main findings of these studies was the detection of spontaneous network activity in chronically epileptic human brain tissue in vitro. In the paper selected for the price, Dr. Köhling has further explored this activity by analysing the spatio-temporal activity patterns. His report is the first analysis of network activity in human brain tissue using voltage-sensitive dyes and their corresponding fluorescence changes in response to membrane potential fluctuations of dye-loaded cells. This experimental approach enables the investigator to record the membrane potential changes of thousands of neurons directly and simultaneously, in contrast to EEG recordings. To interpret the complex spatio-temporal activity patterns, mathematical algorithms were adapted in an interdisciplinary approach together with mathematicians and computer scientists. Thus, the work was innovative and stimulating in all aspects.
The scientific oeuvre of Dr. Köhling shows a straightforward and powerful development revolving on one central topic: epilepsy and inhibition, the role of GABA also being a central theme in spontaneous network activity in human brain. Consequently, GABA-mediated pathological synchronisation is the title of the talk Dr. Köhling will be presenting.


Michael-Prize Award Winner 2003
Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Köhling
The Michael Prize with an amount of € 12.500.- was presented at the 25th International Epilepsy Congress in Lisbon on October, 12th - 16th 2003.