Freiburg-based neurobiologist Prof. Dr. Carola Haas was honored with the Alfred-Hauptmann-Award in Vienna in the beginning of May. The 10000 Euro valued price for the best scientific work in clinical and experimental epileptology is granted every two years. Haas, who is member of BrainLinks-BrainTools‘ executive board and whose research group resides at the Neurocenter of Freiburg’s University Medical Center, is awarded for an outstanding study from 2016 (https://www.pr.uni-freiburg.de/pm-en/press-releases-2016/pm.2016-02-09.18-en?set_language=en). She is sharing the prize money with a team of Swiss researchers, namely Privatdozent Dr. Gian Marco De Marchis (Universitätsspital Basel) and Dr. Deborah Pugin (Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève).
In her study, Haas investigated developmental disruptions in the human temporal lobe which are often appearing in the context of drug-resistant epilepsy. With the help of a whole transcriptome screening, a genetic method, she could identify factors in the cortex that result in myelinisation defects in the axons. Therefore the affected areas are poorly shielded against electrical current. It is possible that epileptic seizures are more likely for this reason.
Haas, who qualified as professor at Freiburg’s Faculty of Medicine in 2001, is head of the Section Experimental Epilepsy Research at the Department for Neurosurgery at the Medical Center – University of Freiburg. For quite some time, her interest lies in the study of epilepsy. She has published over 30 technical papers on this matter in renowned scientific journals in the last 10 years.
On their annual meeting, the German and Austrian epileptology associations and the Swiss League Against Epilepsy come together to bestow the Alfred Hauptmann Award. It is named after German neurologist Alfred Hauptmann (1881-1948), who like Carola Haas, acquired his habiliation at the Faculty of Medicine in Freiburg. While being in Freiburg he published his most famous work in which he described the anticonvulsant efficacy of phenobarbital. Later he had to emigrate from Germany because of his Jewish origins and became active in Boston, USA.