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Ilka Diester Profile Page
Ilka Diester


Lab: Prof. Dr. Ilka Diester
Department: Department of Optophysiology
Center for Neuroscience
Address: Albertstr. 23
79104 Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761 203 8440
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Lab homepage:
PhD positions available: YES
Research Area: Neurosciences
Research Interests: • Elucidation of neural mechanisms for robust and flexible movement control
• Identification of the impact of different cortical neuron types on motor behavior
• Characterization of the role of neural oscillations for motor behavior
• Elucidation of the neural and behavioral impact of projections outgoing from motor and prefrontal cortex
• Development and application of new optogenetic tools


Education & Training: 2008: Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Eberhart-Karls-University, Tübingen, Germany
2003: Dipl. Biol. (equivalent to Master) from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
Employment & Experience: Since 2014: W3 Professor at the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg
2011-2014: Research Group Leader Ernst Strüngmann Institute in Cooperation with Max Planck Society
2008–2011: Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Dr. Karl Deisseroth, Laboratory of Optogenetics, and Dr. Krishna Shenoy, Laboratory of Motor Control, Stanford University, California, USA


Honors and Awards:

2013 ERC Starting Grant
2013 TILL Photonics Research Award
2012 Bernstein Award (BMBF)
2012 Boehringer Ingelheim FENS (Federation of European Neuroscience Societies) Research Award
2009 Postdoctoral fellowship of the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP)
2008 Academy prize of the Göttingen Academy of Science
2008 Graduate “Summa cum laude”, Eberhardt-Karls University, Tübingen
2008 Postdoctoral fellowship of the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst)
2008 Paper of the year award (Hertie Institute for clinical brain research)
2007 Travel stipend of the NWG (Neurowissenschaftliche Gesellschaft)
2005 Marine Biological Laboratory Award, Woods Hole


Selected Publications:

Fenno LE, Mattis J, Ramakrishnan C, Hyun M, Lee SY, He M, Tucciarone J, Selimbeyoglu A, Berndt A, Grosenick L, Zalocusky KA, Bernstein H, Swanson H, Perry C, Diester I, Boyce FM, Bass CE, Neve R, Huang ZJ, Deisseroth K. (2014) Targeting cells with single vectors using multiple-feature Boolean logic. Nature Methods. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2996. Abstract

Ozden I, Wang J, Lu Y, May T, Lee J, Goo W, O'Shea DJ, Kalanithi P, Diester I, Diagne M, Deisseroth K, Shenoy KV, Nurmikko AV. (2013) A coaxial optrode as multifunction write-read probe for optogenetic studies in non-human primates. Journal Neuroscience Methods. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2013.06.011. Abstract

Wang J, Wagner F, Borton DA, Zhang J, Ozden I, Burwell RD, Nurmikko AV, van Wagenen R, Diester I, Deisseroth K. (2012) Integrated device for combined optical neuromodulation and electrical recording for chronic in vivo applications. J Neural Eng. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/9/1/016001 Abstract

Diester I, Kaufman MT, Mogri M, Pashaie R, Goo W, Yizhar O, Ramakrishnan C, Deisseroth K, Shenoy KV (2011) An optogenetic toolbox designed for primates. Nature Neuroscience. doi: 10.1038/nn.2749 Abstract

Gilja V, Chestek CA, Diester I, Henderson JM, Deisseroth K, Shenoy KV. (2011) Challenges and opportunities for next-generation intracortically based neural prostheses. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2011.2107553 Abstract

Witten IB, Lin SC, Brodsky M, Prakash R, Diester I, Anikeeva P, Gradinaru V, Ramakrishnan C, Deisseroth K (2010) Cholinergic interneurons control local circuit activity and cocaine conditioning. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.1193771 Abstract

Gradinaru V, Zhang F, Ramakrishnan C, Mattis J, Prakash R, Diester I, Goshen I, Thompson KR, Deisseroth K (2010) Molecular, cellular, and genomic force multipliers for optogenetic control. Cell. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.02.037 Abstract

Diester I, Nieder A (2008) Complementary contributions of prefrontal neuron classes in abstract numerical categorization. Journal of Neuroscience. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1347-08.2008 Abstract

Diester I, Nieder A (2007) Semantic associations between signs and numerical categories in the prefrontal cortex. PLoS Biol 5:e294. Abstract

Nieder A, Diester I, Tudusciuc O. (2006) Temporal and spatial enumeration processes in the primate parietal cortex. Science. Abstract

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