№ 365/2012 from Nov 30, 2012
The animal behaviorist Constance Scharff from Freie Universität Berlin was appointed a member of the highly regarded Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW). Scharf was elected a full member in the biological and medical sciences class and is one of 168 full members of the BBAW. In addition there are 89 emeritus members and 68 associate members. The Academy appoints scientists and scholars who have made exceptional academic achievements. They can be selected from all disciplines and from anywhere in Germany and abroad.
Constance Scharff, born in 1959, studies the gene involved in language acquisition. After completing her secondary school education in Lübeck, Germany, Scharff first studied biology at a Germany university and transferred to the United States after completing her intermediate exams. In 1991 she earned her Ph.D. from Rockefeller University in New York with a thesis on the neurobiology of vocal learning in songbirds. Scharff completed a postdoctoral program in France at the Collège de France in Paris, where she explored the development of sex differences in the brains of hens and roosters. In 1994, back in New York, she was appointed an assistant professor at Rockefeller University, where she studied the development of new neurons in the adult brain. In 2001 Scharff was appointed to a position at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, and in 2005 she was appointed a professor of animal behavior at Freie Universität. She is currently the executive director of the Institute of Biology at Freie Universität and is involved in the Languages of Emotion Cluster of Excellence and the NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence. Since 2008 she has been the vice president of the German Zoological Society.