Richard Normann, distinguished professor of bioengineering and ophthalmology, and Helga Kolb, emeritus professor of ophthalmology, recently were awarded honorary doctorate degrees from the Miguel Hernandez University in Elche, Spain. The Doctor Honoris Causa degree was awarded to Normann for his pioneering work in the development of techniques for communicating with neurons in the central and peripheral nervous systems. This body of work is expected to offer new therapeutic approaches that will partially restore sensory and motor function in patients who have lost these functions due to disease or trauma. Kolb was also awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa degree for her basic neuroanatomical research in elucidating neural pathways in the vertebrate retina.

Both Normann and Kolb have received numerous awards for their scientific contributions and have been invited to deliver keynote lectures describing their work at many international scientific meetings. “We both regard receiving an honorary doctorate degree from a major European university as one of the highlights of our careers,” says Normann.

A husband and wife team at the University of Utah for 32 years, Normann and Kolb say they have greatly benefited from the research environment provided by the university and consider their decision to permanently locate in Salt Lake City as a critical step in their successful research careers.