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Martin E. Schwab

Universität Zürich

Martin E. Schwab is full professor of Brain Research and Co-Director of the Brain Research Institute at the University of Zurich (since 1985) and full professor of Neurosciences at the ETH Zurich (since 1997). He is the chairman and founder of the Neuroscience Center Zurich (ZNZ) and the managing director of the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) “Neural Plasticity and Repair”.
Martin Schwab’s expertise is in developmental neurobiology and mechanisms of repair of the brain and spinal cord. In 1985 he postulated the concept of “inhibitors of neurite growth” as a cause of the absent regeneration of injured fiber tracts in the central nervous system, which was a novel, anti-dogmatic hypothesis. Subsequently, he isolated one of the most potent nerve fiber growth inhibitors, Nogo-A. When this component was blocked, regeneration and functional repair could be shown for the first time in adult rats and monkeys after spinal cord injury. In summer 2006, Martin Schwab’s work moved from basic research to clinical trials in paraplegic patients, in collaboration with Novartis and an international clinical network coordinated from Zurich.

Up to 20 scientists and leading experts from all over the world and a wide range of disciplines are invited to share insights into their future-changing work at the Falling Walls Conference on 9 November, in front of 700 international guests. In an inspiring, information-packed 15 minutes each, speakers present the core of their breakthroughs – which walls are they helping to tear down and how will it transform our lives?

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