Institute of Neuroscience

Staff Profile

Dr Gerrit Hilgen

Research Associate


I am a postdoctoral Research Associate in the Institute of Neuroscience. My general scientific interest is sensory signal processing and neuroanatomy with a focus on the mature and neonatal retina and in retinal degeneration and repair. I have become expert in a wide range of skills, including neuroanatomy, electrophysiology, cell biology, imaging and scientific computing, to investigate the functional and anatomical building blocks of the retina


Academic Positions Held

2017-to date: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Retinal Neurobiology funded by the Leverhulme Trust, Prof. E. Sernagor, FMS, Newcastle University, UK

2016-2017: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Retinal Neurobiology, FMS Bridging Funding Scheme, Prof. E. Sernagor, FMS, Newcastle University, UK

2013-2016: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Retinal Neurobiology funded by the EU FET project “RenVision”, Prof. E. Sernagor, Newcastle University, UK

2012-2013: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Computational Neuroscience funded by the DFG, Prof. J. Kretzberg, University of Oldenburg, Germany


Academic Education

Jun. 2012: Doctor rerum naturalium (magna cum laude) (is equiv. to PhD), University of Oldenburg, Germany.

Jul. 2007: Diploma in Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Physiology (is equiv. to MSc),  University of Oldenburg, Germany


Full Member Anatomical Society UK

Full Member Physiological Society UK



Google Scholar: Click here.

SCOPUS: Click here.

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PostDoc, Newcastle University 2013-present: I have developed the experimental and analytical framework for light stimulation and simultaneous recording from hundreds to thousands of retinal ganglion cells. I contributed to the development of a novel approach for automated spike sorting (Cell Reports 2017) and a broadly applicable physiological classification tool for all sensory modalities (Front Cell Neuro 2018). I recorded from dystrophic retinas using optogenetic stimulation, with the goal of developing optogenetic-based visual prosthetics (Sci Reports 2016). I have shown for the first time that the functional development of ganglion cell light responses is not homogeneous across the retina, reflecting special ecological requirements at different stages of development (Sci Reports 2017). I showed that hIPSC-derived retinal organoids generate light responses that are comparable to the earliest light responses in the immature mouse retina (Stem Cells 2018 cover page). Recently, I recorded from retinal organoids supplemented with specific decellularised matrices, demonstrating that light responses are enhanced (Biomaterials 2019).



I possess the certificate for “Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education UK” (ILTHE) and supervise undergraduate, master and PhD students. I enjoy working with students and my dedication is always to make sure that they get the most out of their time.

Oct. 2018 Instructor, Module Physiology for Speech and Language (SPE 1050/8158)

Oct. 2018 Teaching Assistant, Neuroanatomy (MBB8020)

Oct. 2018 Teaching Assistant, Surgical Society Neuroanatomy

2017/2016 Instructor, Institute of Neuroscience Summer School

Oct. 2015 Teaching Assistant, Module Cell Biology (CMB1004)

2007-2012 Teaching Assistant, Module Neurobiology (practical)