Karl Deisseroth

D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Karl Deisseroth is a 2017 NOMIS awardee and has been the D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University (Stanford, US) since 2012.

Born in Boston, US, Deisseroth studied biochemical science at Harvard University (Boston) and received a PhD in neuroscience in 1998 and an MD in 2000 from Stanford University. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the McKnight Foundation Scholar Award, the National Academy of Sciences Award and the Breakthrough Prize, the 2017 Fresenius Research Prize (Else Kröner Fresenius Preis für Medizinische Forschung) and the 2018 Kyoto Prize. Deisseroth was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2019.

Deisseroth is widely recognized for developing and implementing an approach to biology called optogenetics, a technique that involves the use of light to control cells in living tissue, typically neurons, that have been genetically modified to express light-sensitive ion channels. Among other advances in laboratory neuroscience techniques, his research has led to thousands of major discoveries regarding the causal underpinnings of complex behavior. But while optics-based discovery of causal mechanisms in animals has been successful, little work has succeeded in revealing brain-wide patterns and underlying causal principles in humans. His project, Discovering the Causal Principles Underlying Brain-wide Dynamics, is investigating the causal principles underlying brain-wide dynamics, which will adapt and combine new technologies developed in the Deisseroth lab.