Karl Deisseroth is the D.H. Chen Professor of Bioengineering and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard, his PhD from Stanford, and his MD from Stanford. He also completed postdoctoral training, medical internship, and adult psychiatry residency at Stanford, and he is board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He continues as a practicing psychiatrist at Stanford with specialization in affective disorders and autism-spectrum disease, employing medications along with neural stimulation.
Over the last sixteen years, his laboratory created and developed optogenetics, hydrogel-tissue chemistry (beginning with CLARITY), and a broad range of enabling methods. He also has employed his technologies to discover the neural cell types and connections that cause adaptive and maladaptive behaviors, and has disseminated the technologies to thousands of laboratories around the world.
Among other honors, Deisseroth was the sole recipient for optogenetics of the 2010 Koetser Prize, the 2010 Nakasone Prize, the 2011 Alden Spencer Prize, the 2013 Richard Lounsbery Prize, the 2014 Dickson Prize in Science, the 2015 Keio Prize, the 2015 Lurie Prize, the 2015 Albany Prize, the 2015 Dickson Prize in Medicine, the 2017 Redelsheimer Prize, the 2017 Fresenius Prize, the 2017 NOMIS Distinguished Scientist Award, the 2018 Eisenberg Prize, the 2018 Kyoto Prize, and the 2020 Heineken Prize in Medicine from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. For his discoveries, Deisseroth has also received the Perl Prize (2012), the BRAIN prize (2013), the Pasarow Prize (2013), the Breakthrough Prize (2015) the BBVA Award (2016), the Massry Prize (2016) and the Harvey Prize from the Technion/Israel (2017). He was selected a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator in 2013, and was elected to the US National Academy of Medicine in 2010, to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2012, and to the US National Academy of Engineering in 2019.