Gero Miesenböck

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Gero Miesenböck
Gero Miesenböck FRS.jpg
Gero Andreas Miesenböck in 2015
Born Gero Andreas Miesenböck
(1965-07-15) 15 July 1965 (age 51)[1][2]
Fields Neuroscience
Alma mater
Known for Optogenetics
Notable awards

Gero Andreas Miesenböck (born 1965)[1] FRS[8] is Waynflete Professor of Physiology and Director of the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour (CNCB)[9] at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford.

Education and early life[edit]

A native of Austria,[2] Miesenböck was educated at the University of Innsbruck and Umeå University in Sweden.[1] He graduated sub auspiciis praesidentis rei publicae[2] from the University of Innsbruck Medical School. Following his Doctor of Medicine (MD) in 1991,[10] he undertook postdoctoral training with James Rothman.[11][12]

Research and career[edit]

Miesenböck is known for his research on optogenetics.[13][14][15][16][17][18] He was the first scientist to modify nerve cells genetically so that their electrical activity could be controlled with light.[13] This involved inserting DNA for light-responsive opsin proteins into the cells.[13] Miesenböck used similar genetic modifications to breed animals whose brains contained light-responsive nerve cells integrated into their circuitry, and was the first to demonstrate that the behavior of these animals could be remote-controlled.[14][17][19]

The principle of optogenetic control established by Miesenböck[13][14] has been widely adopted, generalized to other biological systems, and technically improved.[20][21][22] Most of Miesenböck's work continues to be done with Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies), where it is possible to gain detailed insight into molecular, cellular, and physiological mechanisms of brain function that may relate to human health.[23]

Before being appointed to the Waynflete Professorship in 2007, Miesenböck held faculty positions at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Yale University.

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2012 Miesenböck was awarded the InBev-Baillet Latour International Health Prize[3] for "pioneering optogenetic approaches to manipulate neuronal activity and to control animal behaviour" . In 2013 he shared the Brain Prize[4] with Ernst Bamberg, Edward Boyden, Karl Deisseroth, Peter Hegemann and Georg Nagel, and the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award in Biotechnology and Medicine[5] with Edward Boyden and Karl Deisseroth. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2015.[8] His certificate of election reads:

In 2015 he received the Heinrich Wieland Prize[6] "for his breakthrough concept of optogenetics and its proof of principle" and in 2016 the Wilhelm Exner Medal [25]

Miesenböck was elected a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 2008,[26] and a member of the Academy of Medical Sciences, United Kingdom in 2012,[1] the Austrian Academy of Sciences in 2014,[27] and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in 2016.


  1. ^ a b c d e MIESENBÖCK, Prof. Gero. Who's Who. 2008 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c "Curriculum vitae: Gero Miesenböck, M.D" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-10. 
  3. ^ a b "Le Prix de la Santé". Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  4. ^ a b "Prize Winners 2013 – Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation". 2015-09-15. Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  5. ^ a b "Past Winners | Gabbay Award | Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center | Brandeis University". Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  6. ^ a b "Heinrich Wieland Prize – Heinrich Wieland Prize – Homepage". Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  7. ^ "BBVA Awards – 2015 Laureates". Retrieved 2016-03-01. 
  8. ^ a b Anon (2015). "Professor Gero Miesenböck FMedSci FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-10-07. 
  9. ^ "Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, University of Oxford". 
  10. ^ Miesenböck, Gero Andreas (1991). Relationship of Triglyceride and High Density Lipoprotein Metabolism (MD thesis). University of Innsbruck. 
  11. ^ Miesenbock, G.; Rothman, J. E. (1997). "Patterns of synaptic activity in neural networks recorded by light emission from synaptolucins". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 94 (7): 3402–7. PMC 20382Freely accessible. PMID 9096406. doi:10.1073/pnas.94.7.3402. 
  12. ^ Miesenböck, G.; De Angelis, D. A.; Rothman, J. E. (1998). "Visualizing secretion and synaptic transmission with pH-sensitive green fluorescent proteins". Nature. 394 (6689): 192–195. PMID 9671304. doi:10.1038/28190. 
  13. ^ a b c d Zemelman, B. V.; Lee, G. A.; Ng, M.; Miesenböck, G. (2002). "Selective photostimulation of genetically chARGed neurons". Neuron. 33 (1): 15–22. PMID 11779476. doi:10.1016/S0896-6273(01)00574-8. 
  14. ^ a b c Lima, S. Q.; Miesenböck, G. (2005). "Remote control of behavior through genetically targeted photostimulation of neurons". Cell. 121 (1): 141–152. PMID 15820685. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2005.02.004. 
  15. ^ Miesenböck, G. (2008). "Lighting up the brain". Scientific American. 299 (4): 52–59. PMID 18847085. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1008-52. 
  16. ^ Miesenböck, G. (2009). "The optogenetic catechism". Science. 326 (5951): 395–399. PMID 19833960. doi:10.1126/science.1174520. 
  17. ^ a b "Gero Miesenboeck: Re-engineering the brain | TED Talk". Retrieved 2015-11-06. 
  18. ^ Zimmer, Carl. "An Off-or-On Switch for Controlling Animals?". New York Times. Retrieved 12 April 2005. 
  19. ^ Boyden, E. S.; Zhang, F.; Bamberg, E.; Nagel, G.; Deisseroth, K. (2005). "Millisecond-timescale, genetically targeted optical control of neural activity". Nature Neuroscience. 8 (9): 1263–1268. PMID 16116447. doi:10.1038/nn1525. 
  20. ^ Wells, W. A. (2007). "Gero Miesenböck: Instructing the nervous system". The Journal of Cell Biology. 177 (3): 374–375. PMC 2064810Freely accessible. PMID 17485485. doi:10.1083/jcb.1773pi. 
  21. ^ Miesenböck, G. (2011). "Optogenetic control of cells and circuits". Annu. Rev. Cell Dev. Biol. 27: 731–758. PMC 3759011Freely accessible. PMID 21819234. doi:10.1146/annurev-cellbio-100109-104051. 
  22. ^ Claridge-Chang, A.; Roorda, R. D.; Vrontou, E.; Sjulson, L.; Li, H.; Hirsh, J.; Miesenböck, G. (2009). "Writing memories with light-addressable reinforcement circuitry". Cell. 139 (2): 405–415. PMID 19837039. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.08.034. 
  23. ^ Anon (2015). "Certificate of election EC/2015/29: Miesenbock, Gero". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-10-07. 
  24. ^ "Awardees". Wilmelm Exner Stiftung. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  25. ^ "EMBO MEMBER: Gero Miesenböck". European Molecular Biology Organization. 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-02-03. 
  26. ^ Gero Miesenböck. "Korrespondierende Mitglieder der mathematisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Klasse im Ausland". Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-11-06.