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Winfried Denk, Ph.D. '90, wins Kavli Prize

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John Carberry
Winfried Denk

German physicist and neurobiologist Winfried Denk, Ph.D. '90, co-inventor of two-photon microscopy, has received the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience.

Denk -- a former student of Watt W. Webb, Cornell's Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Engineering -- is director of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Germany. Denk was cited for two imaging techniques that have helped answer questions about how information is transmitted from the eye to the brain, according to the Kavli Prize citation.

In 1990, with his then-adviser Webb, Denk invented two-photon laser scanning fluorescence microscopy, which allows imaging of living tissue at greater depths and with less unwanted background fluorescence.

He went on to develop serial block-face electron microscopy, in which detailed 3-D imagery of minute structures within tissue are generated by the repeated removal of thin slices and scanning of the remaining cut surface of samples.

The Kavli Prize, established in 2008, honors pioneering research in astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience.