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Office of Neuroscience Research > Education and Events > Annual Viktor Hamburger Lecture

Annual Viktor Hamburger Lecture

Born in a small town in Silesia, Germany, Viktor Hamburger attended the Universities of Breslau, Heidelberg, Munich and Freiburg. At the University of Freiburg, he studied with the renowned biologist, Hans Spemann, Nobel Laureate. Professor Hamburger earned his doctoral degree in zoology (experimental embryology) at the University of Freiburg in 1925. The recipient of a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1932, Professor Hamburger came to the United States to study at the University of Chicago with Dr. Frank R. Lillie. In 1935 he joined the faculty of Washington University. Dr. Hamburger is known for his pioneering work in experimental embryology, neuroembryology and the study of programmed cell death, and his work on Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) with Rita Levi-Montalcini and Stanley Cohen. During his tenure at this Washington University, he served as Chairman of the Department of Zoology from 1941-1966. Professor Hamburger was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Sigma Xi and Phi Beta Kappa. Though he retired as professor emeritus in 1969, Dr. Hamburger continued his research until the mid-1980s. He passed away in 2001, just a few weeks short of his 101st birthday.

The Annual Viktor Hamburger lecture is held in the spring.  Stay tuned for 2017 details!


Invited speakers, Hamburger Lecture

2016 Martyn Goulding "From Spemann’s organizer to organized circuits: developmental insights into the functional organization of the spinal cord"
2015 Barbara Meyer

"Creating Intimacy: Counting, Tethering, and Repressing Chromosomes during Development"

2014 Chris Doe

"Generation of neuronal diversity in Drosophila" 

2013 Joe Fetcho “A messy adult hindbrain arises via an orderly developmental ground plan”
2012 Ben Barres "What Do Astrocytes Do?"
2011 Pasko Rakic  "Making Maps of the Mind: Molecular Mechanisms of Neuronal Migration"
2010 Gerald Rubin  "How Can a Molecular Geneticist Understand the Mind of a Fly?"
2009 Sydney Brenner  "The Architecture of Biological Complexity"
2008  Janet Rossant "Stem Cells and Early Development"
2007  Denise Duboule "Engineering Chromosomes to Study Vertebrate Development and Evolution"
2006 David McClay  "The Impact of Signal Transduction on Gene Regulatory Networks During Early Development"
2005  Marianne Bronner-Fraser "Formation of the Vertebrate Neural Crest"


 Eddy De Robertis "Induction of the Vertebrate Central Nervous System" 
 2003   Irving Weissman  "Biology and Evolution of Stem Cells"
2002   Gerd B. Mueller "Concepts and Experiments in Evolutionary Developmental Biology" 
2001  Carla Shatz 

"Brain waves and immune genes in brain wiring"


  Viktor Hamburger Centenary Symposium October 20, 2000 
1999  Nicole Le Douarin  "A Novel View of Neurulation in Amniotes" 
1998   Marc Kirschner  "Conservation and Evolvability. I. The Cellular Bases; II The Developmental Bases"  
1997  Walter Gehring   "The Genetic Control of Eye Morphogenesis and Evolution"
1996   Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard  "The Identification of Genes Controlling Development in Flies and Fishes" 
1995  Thomas Jessell "Inductive Signals and the Control of Neural Cell Pattern in Vertebrates" 
1994   Friedrich Bonhoeffer "On the Formation of the Topographic Neuronal Connection from Retina to Brain" 
1993 Lynn Landmesser  "Experimental Embryology--A Tool to Dissect the Molecular Processes Underlying Development" 
1992  Hans Thoenen "From NGF to a Gene Family: Old Concepts, New Perspectives"
 1991  Douglas Melton "Embryonic Induction and Axis Formation in Amphibia" 
 1990 John B. Gurdon  "Mechanisms of Gene Activation in Early Amphibian Development" 
 1989  Corey Goodman "Cell Adhesion and Cell Recognition During Neural Development" 
 1988  Maxwell Cowan  "The Refinement of Connections During the Development of the Nervous System"
 1987  Stanley Cohen "Epidermal Growth Factor and its Receptor"
 1985  Hampton Carson  "Evolutionary Process: Galapagos Then, Hawaii Now"
 1984  Dale Purves "Recognition and Competition in the Nervous System" 
1983 Salome Gluecksohn-Waelsch  "Regulatory Genes in Development" 
1982   Howard Schneiderman "Biotechnology: Social and Scientific Implications"
1980   Paul Greengard "Intracellular Messengers in the Brain" 
1979 Rita Levi-Montalcini "The Nerve Growth Factor: 25 Years Later"