Research FundingScience Prize for Outstanding Dissertation in Medicine

6 September 2022

ZONTA Club Heidelberg acknowledges neuroanatomical thesis by Dr Nora Jamann

Dr Nora Jamann has received the science prize of the ZONTA Club Heidelberg for her outstanding dissertation in the field of neuroanatomy, which arose from her work at the Medical Faculty Mannheim of Heidelberg University. Petra Köllner-Kleinemeier, the ZONTA Club’s president, presented the award at a small ceremony, together with Prof. Dr Karin Schumacher, Vice-Rector for Quality Development at Ruperto Carola. The prize, worth 3,000 euros, serves to support young researchers and is awarded jointly with the university.

Prize winner Nora Sophie Jamann (middle) with Petra Köllner-Kleinemeier, President of ZONTA Club Heidelberg (left), and Karin Schumacher, Vice-Rector for Quality Development at Heidelberg University (right).

In her dissertation, Dr Jamann studies the axon initial segment (AIS), which, as the first section of the axon – a nerve-cell extension – plays a fundamental role in conducting impulses in neurons, and has so far received little research attention. In the barrel cortex, which is a specific area of the mouse cerebral cortex, she examined the extent to which the AIS can adapt its structure and function to differing levels of activity, and what cellular and molecular mechanisms determine this process. In the words of the referees, Dr Jamann’s thesis, which was assessed “summa cum laude”, distinguishes itself by its particular originality, methodological excellence and scientific relevance. In it the prize winner presents foundational results of significance for future studies on cortical plasticity and neuronal network functions in humans, as well. The dissertation arose at the Institute of Neuroanatomy at the Medical Faculty Mannheim with Prof. Dr Christian Schultz and Prof. Dr Maren Engelhardt as supervisors. 

Nora Sophie Jamann studied medicine at Heidelberg University from 2011 to 2018. She completed additional medical training in various fields, inter alia at the Andres Bello University in Santiago de Chile and the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim. In 2016 she received the Young Investigator Award from the German Anatomical Society. At present, Dr Jamann is working on a natural science dissertation, for which she is doing research at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in Amsterdam and Utrecht University (Netherlands).

ZONTA International is a worldwide union of women who are self-employed or in a leadership position and pursue the aim of empowering women legally, politically, economically and professionally. The ZONTA Club Heidelberg supports regional and transregional projects in this connection. Furthermore, every two years it awards the science prize for the promotion of young researchers, jointly with Ruperto Carola. The prize is attributed specifically for an outstanding thesis by a woman master’s student or doctoral candidate at Heidelberg University.

The award ceremony for this year’s prize took place on 6 September 2022 in the Bel Etage of the Old University. Participants included members of the ZONTA Club Heidelberg, Prof. Dr Konstanze Plaschke, Deputy Equal Opportunities Commissioner of Heidelberg University, and PD Dr Eva Neumaier-Probst, Equal Opportunities Commissioner of the Medical Faculty Mannheim.