Stephen Kuffler

Stephen William Kuffler ForMemRS[1] (August 24 Táp, Austria-Hungary, 1913 October 11, 1980) was a pre-eminent Hungarian-American neurophysiologist. He is often referred to as the "Father of Modern Neuroscience". Kuffler, alongside noted Nobel Laureates Sir John Eccles and Sir Bernard Katz gave research lectures at the University of Sydney, strongly influencing its intellectual environment while working at Sydney Hospital.[2][3] He founded the Harvard Neurobiology department in 1966, and made numerous seminal contributions to our understanding of vision, neural coding, and the neural implementation of behavior. He is known for his research on neuromuscular junctions in frogs, presynaptic inhibition, and the neurotransmitter GABA. In 1972, he was awarded the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University.[4][5]

Stephen W. Kuffler
Born(1913-08-24)August 24, 1913
DiedOctober 11, 1980(1980-10-11) (aged 67)
United States
United States
Alma materVienna Medical School
Known forNeurophysiology
AwardsLouisa Gross Horwitz Prize (1972)
Dickson Prize (1974)
Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience (1978)
Member of National Academy of Sciences
Foreign Member of Royal Society[1]
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Sydney
University of Chicago
Johns Hopkins University
Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole
Harvard University
Salk Institute
Doctoral advisorJohn Carew Eccles
Doctoral studentsDavid Hubel
Torsten Wiesel
Eric Kandel
John Graham Nicholls
Horace Barlow

Honors and awards

Kuffler was widely recognized as a truly original and creative neuroscientist. In addition to numerous prizes, honorary degrees, and special lectureships from countries over the world, Steve was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1964 and to the Royal Society as Foreign Member in 1971. In 1964 he was named the Robert Winthrop professor of neurophysiology and neuropharmacology. From 1966 to 1974 he was the Robert Winthrop professor of neurobiology, and in 1974 he became John Franklin Enders university professor.

A detailed, affectionate, and authoritative account of Stephen Kuffler's life and work has been provided by Sir Bernard Katz (Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, vol. 28, pp. 225–59, 1982) and in a book entitled Steve, Remembrances of Stephen W. Kuffler, compiled and introduced by U. J. McMahan (Sunderland, Mass.: Sinauer Associates, 1990). An account of Kuffler's work is given by Eric R. Kandel, In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind (New York: Norton, 2006), stating: 'I don't think anyone on the American scene since then has been as influential or as beloved as Steve Kuffler.'

See also


  1. Katz, B. (1982). "Stephen William Kuffler. 24 August 1913-11 October 1980". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 28: 224–226. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1982.0011. JSTOR 769900.
  4. Nicholls, J. G. (1998). "Stephen W. Kuffler: August 24, 1913-October 11, 1980". Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences. 74: 193–208. PMID 11623754.
  5. "In appreciation of Stephen W. Kuffler". The Journal of Neuroscience. 1 (1): 1–2. 1981. PMID 7050306.
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