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Herwig Baier

(PI, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Munich)

Project(s) involved: Baier/Elstner/Hegemann/Schneider


Curriculum vitae Herwig Baier, PhD

Director of the Department 'Genes – Circuits – Behavior'

Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology



Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology

Am Klopferspitz 18

82152 Martinsried (near Munich)




Phone:             +49-89-8578-3210

Fax:                 +49-89-8578-3208



1985-1990                  Studies of Biology (Diploma), University of Konstanz, Germany

1990-1995                  PhD in Neuroscience and Cell Biology (Dr. rer. nat.), Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany


Professional Experience

1995-1997                  Postdoctoral research fellow, UC San Diego, USA,
Advisor: W. A. Harris

1997/1998                  Visiting Scientist, MPI for Developmental Biology, Department of Genetics (Director: C. Nüsslein-Volhard), Tübingen, Germany

1998-2004                  Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology, UC San Francisco, USA

2004-2007                  Associate Professor, Department of Physiology, UC San Francisco, USA

2007-2011                  Full Professor, Department of Physiology, UC San Francisco, USA

Since 2011                 Director and Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society, MPI of Neurobiology, Martinsried, Germany


Academic Honors and Awards (selection)


1991-94                       Graduate Fellowship of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation

1995                            PhD (Dr. rer. nat.), Summa cum laude

1995                            Otto Hahn Medal and Fellowship of the Max Planck Society

1995-97                       Feodor Lynen Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

1999-2004                   David and Lucile Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering

2000                            UCSF Innovation in Basic Science Award

2000-2001                   Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in the Neurosciences

2001-2004                   Esther A. and Joseph Klingenstein Fellowship

2006                            Byers Award for Basic Science Research

2009                            HFSP Research Program Award (with G. Wright, UK, and D. Trauner, Germany)

2011                            Elected Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society

2013                            Honorary Professor of the Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich

2013                            Elected Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)

2017                            Robert Whitney Newcomb Lecturer, NIH Neuroscience

2019                            HFSP Research Program Award (with J. Todd Streelman, Georgia Tech, USA)



Publications (selection)


Kramer A, Wu Y, Baier H, Kubo F (2019). Neuronal architecture of a visual center that processes optic flow. Neuron 103: 1-15.

Kunst M, Laurell E, Mokayes N, Kramer A, Kubo F, Fernandes AM, Förster D, Dal Maschio M, Baier H (2019). A cellular-resolution atlas of the larval zebrafish brain. Neuron 103: 21-38.

Helmbrecht TO, dal Maschio M, Donovan JC, Koutsouli S, Baier H (2018). Topography of a visuomotor transformation. Neuron 100: 1429-1445.

Bernal Sierra YA, Rost BR, Pofahl M, Fernandes AM, Kopton RA, Moser S, Holtkamp D, Masala N, Beed P, Tukker JJ, Oldani S, Bönigk W, Kohl P, Baier H, Schneider-Warme F, Hegemann P, Beck H, Seifert R, Schmitz D (2018). Potassium channel-based optogenetic silencing. Nat Commun 9: 4611.

Förster D, Kramer A, Baier H, Kubo F (2018). Optogenetic precision toolkit to reveal form, function and connectivity of single neurons. Methods 150: 42-48.

Freifeld L et al. (2017). Expansion microscopy of zebrafish for neuroscience and developmental biology studies. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 114:E10799-E10808.

Förster D, Dal Maschio M, Laurell E, Baier H (2017). An optogenetic toolbox for unbiased discovery of functionally connected cells in neural circuits. Nat Commun 8: 116.

Dal Maschio M, Donovan JC, Helmbrecht TO, Baier H (2017). Linking neurons to network function and behavior by two-photon holographic optogenetics and volumetric imaging. Neuron 94: 774-789.

Trads JB, Burgstaller J, Laprell L, Konrad DB, de la Osa de la Rosa L, Weaver CD, Baier H, Trauner D, Barber DM (2016). Optical control of GIRK channels using visible light. Org Biomol Chem 15: 76-81.

Filosa A, Barker A, Dal Maschio M, Baier H (2016). Feeding state modulates behavioral choice and processing of prey stimuli in the zebrafish tectum. Neuron 90: 596-608.

Barber DM, Schönberger M, Burgstaller J, Levitz J, Weaver CD, Isacoff EY, Baier H, Trauner T (2016). Optical control of neuronal activity using a light operated GIRK-channel opener (LOGO). Chemical Science 7: 2347-2352.

Barker A, Baier H (2015). Sensorimotor decision-making in the zebrafish tectum. Curr Biol 25: 2804-14.

Temizer I, Donovan JC, Baier H, Semmelhack JL (2015). A visual pathway for looming-evoked escape in larval zebrafish. Curr Biol 25: 1823-34.

Semmelhack JL, Donovan JC, Thiele TR, Kuehn E, Laurell E, Baier H (2014). A dedicated visual pathway for prey detection in larval zebrafish. eLife 10.7554.

Thiele T, Donovan JC, Baier H (2014). Descending control of swim posture in by a midbrain nucleus in zebrafish. Neuron 83: 679-691.

Goncalves PJ, Arrenberg AB, Hablitzel B, Baier H, Machens CK (2014). Optogenetic perturbations reveal the dynamics of an oculomotor integrator. Front Neural Circuits 8:10.

Kubo F, Hablitzel B, Dal Maschio M, Driever W, Baier H, Arrenberg AB (2014). Functional architecture of an optic flow responsive area that drives horizontal eye movements in zebrafish. Neuron 81:1344-59.

Kubo F, Baier H. Combining genetic targeting and optical stimulation for circuit dissection in the zebrafish nervous system. Dahlem Conference 'Optogenetics' (P. Hegemann, S. Sigrist, eds.).

Warp E, Agarwal G, Wyart C, Friedmann D, Oldfield CS, Conner A, Del Bene F, Arrenberg AB, Baier H, Isacoff EY (2012). Emergence of patterned activity in the developing zebrafish spinal cord. Curr Biol 22:93-102.

Miri A, Daie K, Arrenberg AB, Baier H, Aksay E, Tank DW (2011). Spatial gradients and multidimensional dynamics in a neural integrator circuit. Nat Neurosci 14:1150-1159.

Xiao T, Staub W, Robles E, Gosse NJ, Cole GJ, Baier H (2011). Assembly of lamina-specific neuronal connections by Slit bound to type IV collagen. Cell 146:164-176.

Schoonheim PJ, Arrenberg AB, Del Bene F, Baier H (2010). Optogenetic localization and genetic disruption of saccade-generating neurons in zebrafish. J Neurosci 30:7111-7120.

Del Bene F, Wyart C, Robles E, Tran A, Looger L, Scott EK, Isacoff EY, Baier H (2010). Filtering of visual information in the tectum by an identified neural circuit. Science 330:669-673.

Arrenberg AB, Stainier DY, Baier H, Huisken J (2010). Optogenetic control of cardiac function. Science 330:971-974.

Baier H, Scott EK (2009). Genetic and optical targeting of neural circuits and behavior – zebrafish in the spotlight. Curr Opin Neurobiol 19:553-560.

Arrenberg AB, Del Bene F, Baier H (2009). Optical control of zebrafish behavior with halorhodopsin. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:17968-17973.

Wyart C, Del Bene F, Warp E, Scott EK, Trauner D, Baier H, Isacoff EY (2009). Optogenetic dissection of a behavioral module in the vertebrate spinal cord. Nature 461:407-410.

Gosse NJ, Nevin LM, Baier H (2008). Retinotopic order in the absence of axon competition. Nature 452:892-895.

Del Bene F, Wehman A, Link BA, Baier H (2008). Regulation of neurogenesis by interkinetic nuclear migration through an apical-basal notch gradient. Cell 134:1055-1065.

Sumbre G, Muto A, Baier H, Poo MM (2008). Entrained rhythmic activities of neuronal ensembles as perceptual memory of time interval. Nature 456:102-106.

Smear MC, Tao HW, Staub W, Orger MB, Gosse NJ, Liu Y, Takahashi KD, Poo MM, Baier H (2007). Vesicular glutamate transport at a central synapse limits the the acuity of visual perception in zebrafish. Neuron 53:65-77.

Scott EK, Mason L, Arrenberg A, Ziv L, Gosse NJ, Xiao T, Chi NC, Asakawa K, Kawakami K, Baier H (2007). Targeting neural circuitry in zebrafish using GAL4 enhancer trapping. Nat Methods 4:323-326.

Szobota S, Gorostiza P, Del Bene F, Wyart C, Fortin DL, Kolstad K, Tulathan O, Volgraf M, Numano R, Aaron H, Scott EK, Kramer R, Flannery J, Baier H, Trauner D, Isacoff EY (2007). Remote control of neuronal activity with a light-gated glutamate receptor. Neuron 54:535-545.

Mumm JS, Williams PR, Godinho L, Koerber A, Pittman AJ, Roeser T, Chien CB, Baier H, Wong RO (2006). In vivo imaging reveals dendritic targeting of laminated afferents by zebrafish retinal ganglion cells. Neuron 52:609-621.

Hua Y, Smear MC, Baier H, Smith SJ (2005). Activity-based competition regulates axon growth in vivo. Nature 434:1022-1026

Gahtan E, Baier H (2005). Visual prey capture in larval zebrafish is controlled by two identified premotor neurons downstream of the tectum. J Neurosci 25:9294-9303.

Page-McCaw P, Chung SC, Muto A, Roeser T, Staub W, Finger-Baier KC, Korenbrot JI, Baier H (2004). Tyrosinase is required for retinal network adaptation to bright light. Nat Neurosci 7:1329-1336.

Gahtan E, Baier H (2003). Of lasers, mutants, and see-through brains: Functional neuroanatomy in zebrafish. J Neurobiology 59:147-161.