In the last hundred years, Zurich scientists have contributed significantly to research on the nervous system. Auguste Forel showed in his studies in 1887 that the nerve cell and nerve fiber form a unit, later called the 'neuron'. Constantin von Monakow founded the Institute of Brain Anatomy in 1891. He showed in 1882 that the nerve pathway connecting the retina with the visual cortex has a relay station in the midbrain. Walter Rudolf Hess received the Nobel Price in 1949 for his work on the role of the midbrain in autonomic functions like sleep, hunger or defense mechanisms. In the year 1962 Konrad Akert founded the Brain Research Institute of the University of Zurich. Alexander Borbély, Walter Lichtensteiger and Hans Zeier organized the Work Group in Neurobiology in 1972 where more than twenty institutes and clinics of the University and ETH Zurich participated. The successor of the Work Group in Neurobiology is the Neuroscience Center Zurich (ZNZ) founded in October 1998.
Friedrich Goll (1829-1903), Zurich medical doctor and neuro anatomist. The nerve fiber in the cross-section of the human spinal cord in the neck is named after him - drawn in red and marked with a "g".