Markus Meister, Ph.D.

California Institute of TechnologyMarkus Meister’s website
Portrait photo of Markus Meister

Markus Meister is the Anne P. and Benjamin F. Biaggini Professor of Biological Sciences at the California Institute of Technology. He studied physics first at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, then at the California Institute of Technology, where he received a Ph.D. for research with Howard Berg. He went on to postdoctoral training with Denis Baylor at Stanford University. In 1991, Dr. Meister took a professorship at Harvard University, where he worked until his return to the California Institute of Technology in 2012. Dr. Meister studies the function of large neuronal circuits, with a focus on the visual and olfactory sensory systems. Early in his career, he pioneered the use of multielectrode arrays for parallel recording from many of the retina’s output neurons. Together with new approaches to visual stimulation, this helped reveal how much visual processing is accomplished in the retina. Then, his work extended to both smaller and larger scales of organization: on the one hand, the circuit mechanisms of visual computations; on the other, the role of retinal computation for visually guided behavior. In recent years, Meister’s group has been exploring population coding in the mammalian superior colliculus to understand the next stage of visual processing. Meister was named a Pew Scholar in 1993, won the 2009 Lawrence C. Katz Prize for Innovative Research in Neuroscience and the Golden Brain award for vision and brain research from the Minerva Foundation. He serves on the advisory boards of many research organizations including the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology.

Current Project: Outer Brain and Inner Brain: Computational Principles and Interactions

Past Project: Neural computation of innate defensive behavioral decisions

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