Another technical challenge, to develop new methods for recording postsynaptic currents from neurones in brain slices, was prompted by my ongoing interest in CNS synaptic physiology. Together with Tomoyuki Takahashi we developed a method to expose neurones in brain slices, so that patch clamp techniques could be applied to measure quantal synaptic currents and elementary events in the CNS. Understanding synaptic transmission in the CNS requires a close collaboration with molecular biologists, so I moved my laboratory from Göttingen, where I had been collaborating with Erwin Neher for sixteen years, to Heidelberg, one of the molecular biology centers in Germany. Here I am collaborating with Peter Seeburg to elucidate the functions and dysfunctions of CNS synapses at a molecular level, using an approach which combines the techniques of biophysics and molecular biology.
Looking back, I feel very fortunate that I began my career in two laboratories that guided me to important scientific issues that interested me for over twenty years. The scientists that influenced me most were Otto Creutzfeld, who made me decide to take up a scientific career in neurophysiology, and Bernard Katz, in whose department at University College, London I was trained in cellular biophysics, and who still remains my mentor. Later, I was fortunate to meet fellow scientists with whom I shared interests and who became good friends. With Erwin Neher I shared an exciting and wonderful sixteen years of scientific adventures and 'basteln' on new methods in the Max-Planck-Institute in Göttingen. In our collaboration it has always proven important to spend a good part of our time developing methods and instruments, and to share newly developed methods with fellow scientists.