Karl Deisseroth

Karl Deisseroth

Karl Deisseroth MD PhD (born November 18, 1971, Boston, USA) is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the DH Chen Professor of Bioengineering and Psychiatry at Stanford University, California, USA.


• 2013 Lounsbery Prize, for optogenetics
• 2013 BRAIN Prize, for optogenetics
• 2014,5 Dickson Prizes in Science and in Medicine, for optogenetics
• 2014 Keio Medical Science Prize, for optogenetics
• 2015 Albany Prize in Medicine, for optogenetics
• 2015 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences, for optogenetics and CLARITY
• 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Science, for optogenetics
• 2016 Massry Prize, for optogenetics
• 2017 Harvey Prize in Human Health, Technion, Israel: for optogenetics
• 2017 Kröner Fresenius Prize: for optogenetics and hydrogel-tissue chemistry
• Member, US National Academies of Sciences and of Medicine

Current research interests

Karl Deisseroth’s lab studies structure/activity relationships, both of intact vertebrate nervous systems and of single light-activated ion channels, in an integrated effort to understand the circuit dynamics of adaptive and maladaptive behavior. For example, his group developed (2009-2016) hydrogel-tissue chemistry, a versatile technology for creating gel-tissue chemical structures, that has found diverse applications including for enabling high-resolution access to molecular components of intact brains. Separately, in developing optogenetics, he integrated genetics and optics to enable gain- or loss-of-function of well-defined events in specific cell-types during behavior, using genes from algae and archaebacteria along with his lab’s new light-targeting and gene-targeting methods. Building on his initial (7/2004) demonstration of microbial opsin control of neurons, and his team’s subsequent development of the essential components of optogenetics (2004-2009, with dissemination of the tools to thousands of investigators worldwide), Deisseroth’s lab has studied circuit activity foundations of motivated behavior, anxiety, social dysfunction, and depression.