Sten Grillner

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Sten Grillner
Born (1941-06-14) June 14, 1941 (age 75)
Stockholm, Sweden
Residence Stockholm, Sweden
Fields Neuroscience, Neurophysiology
Institutions Karolinska Institutet
Alma mater University of Gothenburg MD; PhD
Known for Former chair of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (20 Years)
Notable awards Kavli Prize in Neuroscience, Bristol-Myers Squibb award, Ralph Gerard prize.

Dr. Sten Grillner (born 14 June 1941, Stockholm[1]) is a Swedish neurophysiologist and distinguished professor at the Karolinska Institute's Nobel Institute for Neurophysiology in Stockholm where he is the director of the institute. He is considered one of the world’s foremost experts in the cellular bases of motor behaviour. His research is focused on understanding the cellular bases of motor behaviour; in particular, he has shown how neuronal circuits in the spine help control rhythmic movements, such as those needed for locomotion. He is current secretary general of International Brain Research Organization IBRO and President of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS). For his work, in 2008 he was awarded the $1 million Kavli Prize for deciphering the basic mechanisms which govern the development and functioning of the networks of cells in the brain and spinal cord. This prize distinguish the recipient from the Nobel prizes in basic medical sciences.[2]

Notable Neuroscientists like Eric Kandel, 2000 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or medicine named Dr. Grillner’s work on the workings of complex neurocircuitry extremely important and this progress in understanding motor systems, the cognitive role in motor systems, is a brilliant advance and has revolutionized our understanding of how the nervous system is wired.[3]

Prof. Grillner studied at the medical faculty in Gothenburg, Sweden, and received his Doctor of Medicine (MD); PhD in neurophysiology in 1969. He has been a Professor and Director of the Nobel Institute for Neurophysiology at the Karolinska Institute since 1987. He is a member of the Academia Europaeae, Royal Swedish Academy of Science, National Academy of Science (US), Institute of Medicine (US) and former member, deputy chair and chairperson between 1988-2008 of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet which awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and has received a number of awards including the Bristol Myers Squibb award in 1993 and the Reeve–Irvine award in 2002. He was the co-recipient of the 2005 SfN Ralph Gerard Prize, highest recognition conferred by Society for Neuroscience and he was a co-recipient, with Thomas Jessell and Pasko Rakic, of the inaugural Kavli Prize for Neuroscience in 2008.


His research has focused on the extraordinary capability of the brain to control movement. Early on he demonstrated that networks within the mammalian spinal cord can produce the detailed motor pattern of locomotion involving the coordination of hundreds of different muscles. In a paper published in 1987, he and colleagues went on to unravel the details of a core network of interacting interneurons in the lamprey as a vertebrate model system. The level of detail gained in this work was, and still is, unique in that it allows the observation of changes in behaviour caused by changing occurring at the cellular and network level. The cellular basis of locomotion, steering and posture is now understood in this biological model system, and the basic design appears conserved from cyclostomes to primates.

He is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.[4]


  1. ^ Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare 1999/2000, Marquis Who's Who 1998
  2. ^ "Gruppe 7: Kavali Prize" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "Interview with 2000 Nobel laureate Dr. Erick Kandel". Retrieved 6 April 2006. 
  4. ^ "Gruppe 7: Medisinske fag" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 

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