Professor Gero MiesenböckBack to People

Subjects: Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience
Department: Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics
College appointment: Professorial Fellow
Phone: 01865 282261


Gero Miesenböck is Waynflete Professor of Physiology and Director of the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour. Gero studied medicine at the University of Innsbruck in his native Austria and did postdoctoral research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He was on the faculty of Yale University before coming to Oxford in 2007.

Research Interests

We study the elementary logic of information processing in the brain. Animals do not employ an endless variety of brain circuits but rather a limited set: circuits that compare signals, apply thresholds, integrate information; oscillators that keep time, buffers that hold the intermediates of computation, memory to write to and read from. We identify these circuits in behavioural tests, delineate their wiring diagrams, and dissect how they work. Much of our research is done in fruit flies, where it is possible to gain detailed insight into molecular, cellular, and physiological mechanisms of brain function that relate directly to human health.

Selected Publications

  • Kempf, A., Song, S.M., Talbot, C.B., and Miesenböck, G. (2019) A potassium channel β-subunit couples mitochondrial electron transport to sleep. Nature 568: 230–234.
  • Groschner, L.N., Chan Wah Hak, L., Bogacz, R., DasGupta, S., and Miesenböck, G. (2018) Dendritic integration of sensory evidence in perceptual decision-making. Cell 173: 894–905.
  • Donlea, J.M., Pimentel, D., Talbot, C.B., Kempf, A., Omoto, J.J., Hartenstein, V., and Miesenböck, G. (2018) Recurrent circuitry for balancing sleep need and sleep. Neuron 97: 378–389.
  • Pimentel, D., Donlea, J.M., Talbot, C.B., Song, S.M., Thurston, A.J.F., and Miesenböck, G. (2016) Operation of a homeostatic sleep switch. Nature 536: 333–337.
  • DasGupta, S., Ferreira, C.H., and Miesenböck, G. (2014) FoxP influences the speed and accuracy of a perceptual decision in Drosophila. Science 344: 901–904.
  • Donlea, J.M., Pimentel, D., and Miesenböck, G. (2014) Neuronal machinery of sleep homeostasis in Drosophila. Neuron 81: 860-872.
  • Miesenböck, G. (2009) The optogenetic catechism. Science 326: 395–399.
  • Claridge-Chang, A., Roorda, R.D., Vrontou, E., Sjulson, L., Li, H., Hirsh, J., and Miesenböck, G. (2009) Writing memories with light-addressable reinforcement circuitry. Cell 139: 405–415.
  • Lima, S.Q., and Miesenböck, G. (2005) Remote control of behavior through genetically targeted photostimulation of neurons. Cell 121: 141–152.
  • Zemelman, B.V., Lee, G.A., Ng, M., and Miesenböck, G. (2002) Selective photostimulation of genetically chARGed neurons. Neuron 33: 15–22.