Staff Profiles

Peter Somogyi, Ph.D.

University of Oxford

Peter Somogyi is director of the Medical Research Council's Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit and professor of neurobiology at the Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford, UK. He graduated in biology and received his Ph.D. in cell biology at the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary. His research training included neurocytology with István Benedeczky, neuroanatomy with János Szentágothai at Semmelweis Medical University, Budapest, biochemistry with A. David Smith and Ian Chubb at the University of Oxford, and immunocytochemistry with Claudio Cuello at Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Hungarian, the German and the European Academies, and in 2011 received The Brain Prize. Somogyi is recognized for his fundamental work on the identification of cell types in the cerebral cortex and for the localization of signalling molecules in identified synapses of microcircuits in the brain. He pioneered the high-resolutions synaptic dissection of connections in the cerebral cortex defining synaptic links and their temporal dynamics. His vision that explanations of normal and pathological events in the brain can only come from the rigorous spatio-temporal definition of the neuronal circuits that underlie these events has led to the discoveries of novel cell types, rules of neuronal connections, their molecular constituents and temporal dynamics. Some of the approaches that he introduced to neuroscience have been adopted world wide and applied to other areas of the brain. In general, his work has demonstrated how co-operative interactions in time and space between distinct identified neurons underlie the processing power of the cortex.