Ilka Diester

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Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany


Sensory and Motor Systems

Title of the talk:
Optogenetic manipulations in the motor cortex



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Ilka Diester studied Biology at the Humboldt University Berlin and did her PhD on neural correlates of numerical competence in non-human primates at the Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research in Tübingen. She joined Karl Deisseroth’s and Krishna Shenoy’s laboratories at Stanford University where she established optogenetics in non-human primates as a postdoctoral fellow. From 2011 to 2014 Ilka Diester led a research group at the Ernst Strüngmann Institute for Neuroscience in Cooperation with Max Planck Society. Since 2014 she is a tenured professor at the Albert-Ludwig-University in Freiburg.


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Prof. Diester’s lab investigates how motor cortex responses are correlative and causally involved in the generation of movements. The lab approaches this goal from three perspectives: local processing within motor cortex, inputs from prefrontal areas, and outputs to direct projection targets from motor cortex. By combining electrophysiological recording techniques with optogenetic manipulations and behavioral assays, the group probes the involved circuits in order to achieve a better understanding of roles and functions of the contributing subsections within the motor pathway. The lab’s vision is that one day this knowledge might help improving bidirectional neural prostheses for a simultaneous writing in and reading out of neural signals.


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