Kavliuka starter idag – den 5. september

I dag innledes en uke med eksellent forskning i sentrum. Jeg snakker om Kavli-uka.  Kavliprisene for 2016 skal utdeles i Konserthuset den 6. september i regi av Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi. Allerede i dag – 5. september – skal prisvinnerne holde sine forelesninger. Dette skjer i Georg Sverdrups hus. Velkommen!

Det fullstendige programmet for Kavli-uka finner du her: http://www.kavliprize.org/events-and-features/kavli-prize-week-2016-program

Jeg tør påstå at dette er et program på aller høyeste internasjonale nivå.

Litt om Fred Kavli

Fred Kavli døde i november 2013. Han rakk å gjøre en stor innsats for grunnleggende forskning, og denne innsatsen vil bli ført videre gjennom hans priser, sentre og andre initiativer.   Fred Kavli – opprinnelig fra Nesset i Romsdal – representerer det beste i det som er en lang filantropisk tradisjon i USA. Han bestemte seg for å gi formuen sin til forskning.

Ingen andre filantroper jeg vet om, har uttrykt slik glede over sin virksomhet som Fred Kavli. Med referanse til sin egen formue sa han «It’s so delicious to get rid of it.»  På sin opprinnelige dialekt fulgte han opp med følgende kraftsats: «Dæ norske storkaksan væt ikkje ka dæ går glipp tå.»  En invitasjon jeg med glede sender videre. Heldigvis begynner den amerikanske filantropiske tradisjon å få fotfeste i Norge også.  

Fred Kavli var en sterk advokat for grunnforskningen: «The curiosity of the human being is what has brought us where we are today, and I have complete confidence that it will take us where we need to be in the future.» Sitatet tar oss tilbake til det som er helt basalt, men som ofte overses eller glemmes i dagens samfunn: I bunnen for vårt store sivilisasjonsprosjekt ligger nysgjerrigheten og den frie og utvungne kreativitet.

Tre priser: Astrofysikk, nanovitenskap og nevrovitenskap

Fred Kavli ville honorere forskning på det største, det minste og det mest komplekse. Altså forskning innen astrofysikk, nanovitenskap og nevrovitenskap. Forelesningene i dag – 5. september – holdes i samme rekkefølge ( http://www.kavliprize.org/events-and-features/kavli-prize-laureate-lectures).

Jeg leder komiteen for Kavliprisen i nevrovitenskap. Årets prisvinnere i dette fagfeltet vil holde sine forelesninger i Georg Sverdrups Hus kl 13.30 i dag. Her er vår begrunnelse for prisene:

THE 2016 KAVLI PRIZE IN NEUROSCIENCE is awarded to Eve Marder, Michael Merzenich, and Carla Shatz, “for the discovery of mechanisms that allow experience and neural activity to remodel brain function”

How does the brain change during learn­ing and development, while remaining structurally stable and producing reliable behavior? This fundamental question has been addressed by the three 2016 Kavli Prize laureates in Neuroscience. Their discoveries showed how neuronal activity, generated either by experience or by intrinsic brain function, actively sculpts structural and functional connec­tions between nerve cells. At the same time, essential stability is provided by self-regulating mechanisms that drive nerve cells to produce consistent patterns of activity.

Michael Merzenich demonstrated that sensory circuits in the cerebral cortex can be reorganized by experience in adult­hood. Different parts of the body are represented in a continuous map in the somatosensory cortex. After demonstrat­ing reorganization of this map after injury, Merzenich showed that simply expanding or limiting the use of different fingers leads to a corresponding change in the representation of the hand in the brain. Similarly, he showed that the audi­tory cortex can change its map of sound frequencies after individuals are trained to detect fine differences in pitch. This discovery helps explain how humans can recover their perception of speech with electronic cochlear implants, which gen­erate signals much simpler than normal auditory inputs. Merzenich showed that neuromodulators as well as cognitive fac­tors including attention determine whether adult plasticity takes place. This work is being extended in humans to maximize learning and recovery from brain injury and disease.

Carla Shatz showed how patterns of activ­ity in the developing brain instruct and refine the arrangement of synapses between neurons. She demonstrated that the formation of appropriate connections between the eye and the brain of mam­mals depends on neuronal activity before birth. She discovered that spontaneous waves of activity sweep across the retina early in development, and showed that these organized activity patterns select the final set of connections from a coarse, genetically-determined map. Her dem­onstration that “neurons that fire together, wire together” links the mecha­nisms of brain wiring during develop­ment to those underlying adult learning and memory.

Eve Marder used the simple circuits of crustaceans to elucidate the dynamic interplay between flexibility and stability in the nervous system. She showed that numerous neuromodulators reconfigure the output of adult neural circuits without altering their underlying anatomy. At the same time, she found that circuits can generate similar neuronal and network outputs from many different configura­tions of intrinsic neuronal excitability and synaptic strength. This apparent paradox was solved by her recognition that neu­rons have a self-regulating homeostatic programme that drives them to a stable target activity level. With the other two Kavli Prize laureates, Marder defined the mechanisms by which brains remain stable while allowing for change during development and learning.

Publisert 5. sep. 2016 08:08 - Sist endret 5. sep. 2016 08:08
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