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Prof. Dr. Ulrich Egert

Ulrich Egert

Director of the Bernstein Center Freiburg &
Biomicrotechnology, Dept. of Microsystems Engineering
Faculty of Engineering
Georges-Köhler-Allee 102
79110 Freiburg i.Br.
Tel.: +49 (0)761 203 7524

We are part of the
MSc program in Neuroscience
at the University of Freiburg, Germany


Research Topics

  • Mechanisms and functions underlying the spatial and temporal dynamics of activity in natural and artificial biological neuronal networks under physiological and pathophysiological conditions.
  • The influence of mesoscale network structure on dynamics and robustness of neuronal network activity
  • Mechanisms of epilepsy
  • Control of network dynamics and interaction of stimulation with ongoing activity
  • Neurotechnological hybrid systems
  • Recording and analysis of spatial and temporal structure of electrical activity in neuronal networks in slices and cell cultures 

We are interested in processing and activity dynamics in generic neuronal networks, the role of a network's mesoscale structure on its properties and new techniques for neuronal network electrophysiology. This we investigate by recording and analyzing the spatial and temporal structure of electrical activity in neuronal networks in slices, cell cultures of cortical neurons and in mice, based on spontaneous and electrically, optogenetically or pharmacologically stimulated activity as well as pharmacological modulation of network structure. We use intracellular whole-cell patch clamp recordings to identify single neuron properties and pairwise connectivity, in conjunction with network activity recorded simultaneously with microelectrode arrays (MEA) and calcium imaging. The main perspective here is the embedding of individual neurons into neuronal network dynamics and the heterogeneity of this across neurons.

As a pathological aspect of changes to the structure of neuronal networks, we investigate mechanisms underlying epilepsy. Specifically, we are interested in how the restructuring of the hippocampal network is reflected in interictal activity seemingly without salient signs of epileptiform activity and how to reduce the propensity to develop seizures by neurotechnological means.

Much of our work involves developing new tools to analyze and interpret our data, e.g. to relate whole cell patch clamp data to network dynamics, analyse spatial activity patterns as a function of network architecture, new measures for time resolved severity analysis of epileptic episodes or current susceptibility for seizures,

In terms of technical aspects we collaborate with several engineering groups to develop new devices for high-density extracellular recording in vitro and in vivo, autonomous control of closed-loop stimulation, also based on machine-learning approaches.

In previous projects we investigated the differentiation and structure of electrical activity in cardiac networks, developed applications for biological neuronal networks in drug screening, and addressed the use of biosensors to identify molecular markers associated with changing states of neuronal activity. 


  • Single- and multiple-neuron recordings in slices, neuronal networks in cell cultures and in vivo
  • Design and application of advanced data analysis techniques for electrophysiological data
  • Cell culture techniques
  • Neurotechnology
  • Optogenetic analysis
  • Calcium imaging
  • Microelectrode array recoding in vivo and in vitro 

Academic Background

  • 2005: Habilitation at the Faculty of Biology, Univ. Freiburg
  • 1995: Dr. rer. nat. (PhD) in Biology, Thesis: Development of thin-film microelectrode arrays and their application in neurophysiology.
  • 1988 - 1995: PhD Studies, Eberhard-Karls University, Tübingen and Natural and Medical Sciences Institute, Reutlingen
  • 1987: Diploma in Biology; Thesis on the effects of anesthetics on cortical visual plasticity and memory consolidation in kittens.
  • 1983 - 1987: Graduate studies in biology, Eberhard-Karls University, Tübingen, Germany
  • 1982 - 1983: Graduate studies in zoology, Duke University, Durham, NC, (USA)
  • 1980 - 1982: Eberhard-Karls University Tübingen, Germany, Undergraduate studies in biology


Research Positions

  • 2008 - present: Professor for Biomicrotechnology, Dept. of Microsystems Engineering, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Univ. Freiburg
  • 2001 - 2007: Assistant Professor, Dept. Neurobiology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, Univ. Freiburg
  • 1996 - 2007: Head of the Applied Neuroscience Laboratory, Dept. Neurobiology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, Univ. Freiburg
  • 1988 - 1996: PhD-Student and Research Associate Position, Natural and Medical Sciences Institute, Reutlingen 











  • Kumar S S, Wülfing J, Boedecker J, Wimmer R, Riedmiller R, Becker B, Egert U
    Autonomous control of network activity
    Proc of the 9th Int’l Meeting on Substrate-Integrated Microelectrode Arrays (MEA), 2014
  • Kilias A, Froriep U P, Haeussler U, Kumar A, Haas C A, Egert U
    Phase coupling of neuronal firing to hippocampal network rhythms is preserved under epileptic conditions
    Epilepsiavolume: 55, pages: 41 - 42, 2014
  • Asplund M, Boehler C, Heizmann S, Egert U, Hoffmann U, Stieglitz T
    Polymer electrodes for drug release during stimulation
    2014 Biomed Eng-biomed Tevolume: 59, pages: S1076 - S1076






  • Frey U, Egert U, Jackel D, Sedivy J, Ballini M, Livi P, Faraci F, Heer F, Hafizovic S, Roscic B, Hierlemann A
    Depth recording capabilities of planar high-density microelectrode arrays
    2009 Proc of the 4th International IEEE EMBS Conference on Neural Engineeringpages: 207 - 210
  • Frey U, Egert U, Heer F, Hafizovic S, Hierlemann A
    Microelectronic system for high-resolution mapping of extracellular electric fields applied to brain slices.
    2009 Biosens Bioelectronvolume: 24, issue: 7, pages: 2191 - 2198
  • Gürel T, Rotter S, Egert U
    Reservoir computing methods for functional identification of biological networks
    18th Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting CNS 2009, 2009
  • Frey U, Egert U, Heer F, Hafizovic S, Hierlemann A
    Subcellular-resolution recording of electrical activity using a CMOS microelectrode system
    2009 Proc of the 15th International Conference on Solid-State Sensors, Actuators & Microsystems, Transducerspages: 1674 - 1677


  • Meier R, Egert U, Aertsen A, Nawrot MP
    FIND-a unified framework for neural data analysis.
    2008 Neural Networksvolume: 21, issue: 8, pages: 1085 - 1093
  • Okujeni S, Kandler S, Egert U
    Homeostatic regulation of activity in cortical networks
    BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbHpages: 74 - 75, 2008



  • Egert U, Banach K, Meyer T
    Analysis of cardiac myocyte activity dynamics with microelectrode arrays
    In: Advances in network electrophysiology using multi electrode arrays
    2006, Springer Vlg., Taketani,M.; Baudry,M., pages: 274 - 290, Taketani,M.; Baudry,M., ISBN: 0387258574
  • Kandler S, Egert U
    Functional classification of neuroleptics based on population response profiles
    2006 BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbHpages: 126 - 127
  • Egert U
    Networks on chips - Monitoring the spatial and temporal dynamics of electrical activity in functional networks in brain slices and cardiac tissue
    In: BioMEMS
    2006, Springer Vlg., Urban G, pages: 309 - 350, Urban G, ISBN: 0-387-28731-0


  • Egert U, Meyer T
    Heart on a chip - Extracellular multielectrode recordings from cardiac myocytes in vitro
    In: Practical Methods in Cardiovascular Research
    2005, Springer Vlg., Dhein,S.; Mohr,F.-W.; Delmar,M., pages: 432 - 453, Dhein,S.; Mohr,F.-W.; Delmar,M., ISBN: 3540407634
  • Stett A, Rudorf R, Egert U, Boven K-H, Gottschlich N, Nisch W
    Perforated polyimide microelectrode arrays for single-cell and tissue recording
    2005 VDE Verlagpages: 427 - 430


  • Hescheler J, Halbach M, Egert U, Lu ZJ, Bohlen H, Fleischmann BK, Reppel M
    Determination of electrical properties of ES cell-derived cardiomyocytes using MEAs.
    2004 J Electrocardiolvolume: 37, supplement: 1, pages: 110 - 116



  • Egert U, Hämmerle H
    Application of the microelectrode-array (MEA) technology in pharmaceutical drug research
    In: Sensoren im Fokus neuer Anwendungen
    2002, w.e.b. Universitätsverlag, Baselt,J.P.; Gerlach,G., pages: 51 - 54, Baselt,J.P.; Gerlach,G.,
  • Egert U, Knott T, Schwarz C, Nawrot M, Brandt A, Rotter S, Diesmann M
    MEA-Tools: an open source toolbox for the analysis of multi-electrode data with MATLAB.
    2002 J Neurosci Methvolume: 117, issue: 1, pages: 33 - 42
  • Egert U, Heck D, Aertsen A
    Two-dimensional monitoring of spiking networks in acute brain slices.
    2002 Exp Brain Resvolume: 142, issue: 2, pages: 268 - 274


  • Egert U, Schlosshauer B, Fennrich S, Nisch W, Fejtl M, Knott T, Muller T, Hammerle H
    A novel organotypic long-term culture of the rat hippocampus on substrate-integrated multielectrode arrays.
    1998 Brain Res Protocvolume: 2, issue: 4, pages: 229 - 242


  • Janders M, Egert U, Stelzle M, Nisch W
    Novel thin film titanium nitride micro-electrodes with excellent charge transfer capability for cell stimulation and sensing applications.
    1996 , pages: 48 - 49

1995 and earlier

  • Egert U, Knott Th, Mohr A, Nisch W, Hämmerle H
    An in vitro model system for studies of horizontal interaction in excised retina segments with a multielectrode-array
    Thieme, Elsner N, Menzel R, page: 449, 1995

  • Nisch W, Bock J, Egert U, Hammerle H, Mohr A
    A thin film microelectrode array for monitoring extracellular neuronal activity in vitro.
    1994 Biosensors and Bioelectronicsvolume: 9, issue: 9-10, pages: 737 - 741
  • Hämmerle H, Egert U, Mohr A, Nisch W
    Extracellular recording in neuronal networks with substrate integrated microelectrode arrays.
    1994 Biosens Bioelectronvolume: 9, issue: 9-10, pages: 691 - 696

  • Schlosshauer B, Stier H, Egert U
    Graded distribution of the neural 2A10 antigen in the developing chicken retina.
    1993 Dev Brain Resvolume: 76, issue: 1, pages: 13 - 22

  • Rauschecker JP, Tian B, Korte M, Egert U
    Crossmodal changes in the somatosensory vibrissa/barrel system of visually deprived animals.
    1992 P Natl Acad Sci Usavolume: 89, issue: 11, pages: 5063 - 5067

  • Rauschecker JP, Egert U, Kossel A
    Effects of NMDA antagonists on developmental plasticity in kitten visual cortex.
    1990 Int J Dev Neuroscivolume: 8, issue: 4, pages: 425 - 435