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Eppendorf Award 2020: Research on Thirst Wins Science Prize

October 2020. American scientist Christopher A. Zimmerman, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute in Princeton, New Jersey, USA has won the 2020 Eppendorf & Science Prize for Neurobiology for his work on the neural circuits that govern thirst and drinking behavior. Zimmerman discovered that sensory signals originating throughout the body come together within individual neurons in the brain to produce the sense of thirst. He demonstrated that this new class of body-to-brain signals predicts changes in hydration before they occur and, as a result, adjusts our level of thirst preemptively. Zimmerman’s research has revealed fundamental principles of ingestive behavior of foods and liquids, and provided neural mechanisms to explain aspects of everyday human experience.

“Christopher Zimmerman described in an engagingly written essay the neurobiology that underlies a phenomenon everyone has experienced multiple times,” explained Dr. Peter Stern, Senior Editor at Science and Chairman of the Prize Jury. “The work helps us understand, for example, how we can quickly feel thirst, how the sensation changes during meals, and why cold drinks have a thirst-quenching power.”

Chris Zimmermann started out to study Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh (BSE, 2013), moving on to the lab of Zachary Knight at the University of San Francisco where he obtained his PhD in Neuroscience in 2019. That year he joined the Lab of Ilana Witten at Princeton University in October with a Fellowship of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation for Biomedical Science.

Source: Eppendorf AG

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