The lecture theater at the Crick.

Crick Lecture

Silvia Arber

University of Basel and Friedrich Miescher Institute

Crick Lectures

Crick Lectures are open to scientists from other institutes and universities in and around London and elsewhere. You should have a minimum of graduate-level biological knowledge to attend, and they are not suitable for school-aged participants. Find out more

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Title: Circuit solutions for programming actions

Silvia Arber has been described as one of the world's most prominent neurobiologists and is a leading figure in the study of neuronal circuitry controlling motor behaviour. 

Arber studied biology at the Biozentrum at the University of Basel and completed her PhD in 1995 at the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI) in Basel. She worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University in New York, before returning to Basel in 2000. Currently, Arber is a Professor of Neurobiology/Cell Biology and Deputy Director of the Biozentrum, University of Basel.

Her group investigates the mechanisms involved in the function and assembly of neuronal circuits controlling motor behavior. She has shown that premotor interneuron groups differ from each other in their functionality and distribution in the spinal cord and that this property depends on the timing of their generation during development. Some of her lab’s most recent research unraveled highly specific bidirectional communication pathways between higher brain centres and the spinal cord. This work demonstrated the existence of molecularly and functionally defined brainstem motor control hubs for diverse actions.

Collectively, Arber’s work not only reveals the functional organisation of circuits at the core of motor control but has the potential to improve recovery in people and animals that have lost or attenuated motor function. It was on this basis that Arber recieved the Pradel Research Award in 2018. 

Arber is an advanced ERC investigator and an elected member of EMBO and the Academia Europaea. She is also a member of the Editorial Board for Cell.