Wahl was born in 1968 in the town of Rechberg in Southern Germany. After competing high school, he studied physics in Ulm and completed his Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, which was at that time managed by Prof. Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, who received the Nobel Prize of Medicine in 1995. Wahl then came to ZEISS where he worked in Group-wide strategy programs to uncover synergies between the different areas of the company. He played a key role in the founding of the ZEISS Vision Science Lab in 2013.
Wahl first encountered the neurosciences while studying physics in Ulm where Prof. Dr. Peter Fromherz gave lectures. He conducted research into the interfacing of semiconductors and nerve cells. Wahl later completed his Ph.D. in Tübingen at the department "Physical Biology" of Prof. Friedrich Bonhoeffer. Today, Bonhoeffer is one of Wahl's role models in science and research.
One of the key requirements for an honorary professorship is demonstrated excellence in teaching. Wahl gives lectures and conducts seminars on medical technology and innovations that deal with far more than just theoretical knowledge. His students form teams and select an area of focus which they pursue over the course of a year, identifying clinical problems and developing solutions. In addition to the theoretical foundation, the students develop practical competencies in project and risk management. Wahl also provides professional training, including coaching how to handle challenges in the innovation process.
Excellence in scientific research is also a requirement for an honorary professorship. In the ZEISS Vision Science Lab's second year, Wahl and his team began to publish their results in scientific journals. Today, scientific papers from Wahl and his team have been accepted by the Nature Publishing Group, one of the most esteemed scientific presses worldwide. Wahl collaborates with other respected research institutes, such as the University of California Berkeley or Hong Kong Polytechnic University. An honorary professors' full-time job is at an industrial company like ZEISS, rather than working at a university.
ZEISS Vision Science Lab
The ZEISS Vision Science Lab is fully integrated and recognized in the institutional landscape of the University of Tübingen - in terms of organization, administration and teaching. The lab was founded as part of the German Excellence Initiative known as 'Industry on Campus Professorship' sponsored by the German Federal Government and States to foster science and research at German universities. The goal of the ZEISS Vision Science Lab is to gain an understanding of the development of vision, the interaction of light with the eye and the eyeglass lens and the processing of the images in the brain. On this basis, the Lab develops new ways of providing natural, optimized vision to each individual wearer. Another item on its agenda is to research the development of vision and pathological changes to perception in order to enable as early a diagnosis as possible by using suitable measuring methods. For these patients, this could result in personalized solutions for improved vision. The cooperation with the university reflects the ambitions of the company founder and university mechanic Carl Zeiss, as well as the founder of the Carl Zeiss Foundation, Ernst Abbe. As a foundation company, ZEISS promotes science and research in the field of optics.
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