Born in Stuttgart, Sakmann enrolled in Volksschule in Lindau, and completed the Wagenburg gymnasium in Stuttgart in 1961. He studied medicine from 1967 onwards in Tübingen, Freiburg, Berlin, Paris and Munich. After completing his medical exams at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, he became a medical assistant in 1968 at Munich University, while also working as a scientific assistant (Wissenschaftlicher Assistant) at Munich's Max-Planck-Institut für Psychiatrie, in the Neurophysiology Department under Otto Detlev Creutzfeldt. In 1971 he moved to University College London, where he worked in the Department of Biophysics under Bernard Katz. In 1974 he completed his medical dissertation, under the title Elektrophysiologie der neuralen Helladaptation in der Katzenretina (Electrophysiology of Neural Light Adaption in the Cat Retina) in the Medical Faculty of Göttingen University.
Afterwards (still in 1974), Sakmann returned to the lab of Otto Creutzfeldt, who had meanwhile moved to the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. Sakmann joined the membrane biology group the in 1979.
In 1991 he received the Nobel prize for Physiology or Medicine together with Neher, with whom he had worked in Göttingen.
Sakmann is the founder of the Bert-Sakmann-Stiftung.
Ion channel research wins physiology Nobel: Neher and Sakmann's "patch clamp" method has revolutionized neuroscience and cell biology in the past 15 years. (Erwin Neher; Bert Sakmann)
Oct 18, 1991; THE NOBEL COMMITTEE'S DECISION TO award this year's prize in physiology or medicine to German neuroscientists Erwin Neher and...