21st Century - Biology - Neuroscience

Silvia Arber

Silvia Arber (born 1968 in Geneva) is a Swiss neurobiologist.[4][5] She teaches and researches at both the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Basel Switzerland.


Silvia Arber studied biology at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel and completed her doctorate in 1995 at the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI) in Basel.

Career and research

Arber subsequently worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Columbia University in New York City. In 2000, she returned to Basel as a Professor of Neurobiology and Cell Biology continuing her research work and teaching at the Biozentrum as well as at the FMI.

Arber’s research 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.[6] Silvia Arber then turned her attention to deciphering the anatomical and functional organization of the brain stem (since 2014). This provided insight into the neuronal networks that transmit instructions for various body movements from the brain to the spinal cord. This work showed that very specific neurons are connected into circuit modules that control different aspects of body movements. For example, the fine motor skills of the arm and hand are regulated by different brainstem networks than walking or posture.[7][8][9]

She serves as a member of the Editorial Board for Cell.[10]

Awards and honors

  • 1998: Pfizer Forschungspreis[11]
  • 2003: National Latsis Prize[12]
  • 2005: elected Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)[3]
  • 2005: Schellenberg Prize[13]
  • 2008: Friedrich Miescher Award[14]
  • 2009: European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Investigators Grant[15]
  • 2014: Otto Naegeli Prize[16]
  • 2014: elected Member of the Academia Europaea (MAE)[17]
  • 2017: Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine[5]
  • 2018: W. Alden Spencer Award
  • 2018: Pradel Research Award
  • 2019: Physiological Society Annual Review Prize Lecture[18]
  • 2020: Elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States[1]
  • 2022: The Brain Prize[19]

Personal life

Arber is the daughter of the Swiss microbiologist and geneticist Werner Arber, who in 1978 was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.[20]


  1. Jump up to:a b “Silvia Arber: University of Basel”nasonline.org.
  2. ^ “Silvia ARBER | Jeantet”. 4 October 2017.
  3. Jump up to:a b “Elected Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)”. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  4. ^ Silvia Arber publications from Europe PubMed Central
  5. Jump up to:a b “Prize winners | Jeantet”. 11 December 2017.
  6. ^ “Research Group Silvia Arber”www.biozentrum.unibas.ch.
  7. ^ Esposito, Maria Soledad; Capelli, Paolo; Arber, Silvia (2014-04-17). “Brainstem nucleus MdV mediates skilled forelimb motor tasks”. Nature508 (7496): 351–6. Bibcode:2014Natur.508..351Edoi:10.1038/nature13023PMID 24487621S2CID 4453827.
  8. ^ Capelli, Paolo; Pivetta, Chiara; Esposito, Maria Soledad; Arber, Silvia (2017-11-16). “Locomotor speed control circuits in the caudal brainstem” (PDF). Nature551 (7680): 373–377. Bibcode:2017Natur.551..373Cdoi:10.1038/nature24064PMID 29059682S2CID 205260887.
  9. ^ Ruder, Ludwig; Schina, Riccardo; Kanodia, Harsh; Valencia-Garcia, Sara; Pivetta, Chiara; Arber, Silvia (2021-02-01). “A functional map for diverse forelimb actions within brainstem circuitry” (PDF). Nature590 (7846): 445–450. Bibcode:2021Natur.590..445Rdoi:10.1038/s41586-020-03080-zPMID 33408409S2CID 230817639.
  10. ^ “Editorial board: Cell”.
  11. ^ “Pfizer Forschungspreis”. Archived from the original on 24 May 2006.
  12. ^ National Latsis Prize Archived 29 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ “DF ⁄ Prix Schellenberg ⁄ Arber”forschdb2.unibas.ch.
  14. ^ Friedrich Miescher Award
  15. ^ ERC Advanced Investigators Grant
  16. ^ Silvia Arber receives Otto Naegeli Prize 2014 Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  17. ^ Elected Member of the Academia Europaea ae-info.org. Retrieved 4 September 2014
  18. ^ “2019 Prize Lecture announcement”The Physiological Society. 26 September 2018. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  19. ^ “Winners of The Brain Prize 2022”. The Brain Prize. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  20. ^ “Curriculium Vitae”. Retrieved 8 April 2022.

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