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Dr Gerrit Hilgen

Senior Lecturer

Department: Applied Sciences

Dr Gerrit Hilgen started as a Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University in May 2020. He gained his PhD in 2012 at the University of Oldenburg (Germany) and has been employed since as a Research Fellow in Computational Neuroscience (University of Oldenburg, Germany) and as a Research Associate in Retinal Neuroscience (Newcastle University). He is interested in sensory signal processing, neuroinformatics and anatomy with a focus on the mature and neonatal retina in health and disease and human pluripotent stem cell derived retinal organoids. Dr Hilgen helped to develop UK’s first experimental and analytical framework for light stimulation and simultaneous recording from hundreds to thousands of retinal ganglion cells, investigating various aspects of global retinal network function across the lifespan in mice and retinal organoids in health and disease.

All his peer-reviewed publications span several disciplines such as neuroscience, stem cell sciences and neuroinformatics and so he has become an expert in a wide range of skills to overcome scientific and technological challenges. His long-term ambition is to build up an interdisciplinary laboratory that bridges neuroscience, molecular biology and computational approaches to investigate the interactions between function, genes and anatomy in health and disease.

Gerrit Hilgen

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Generate Light Responsive Retinal Organoids with Variable and Nutrient-Dependent Efficiency, Hallam, D., Hilgen, G., Dorgau, B., Zhu, L., Yu, M., Bojic, S., Hewitt, P., Schmitt, M., Uteng, M., Kustermann, S., Steel, D., Nicholds, M., Thomas, R., Treumann, A., Porter, A., Sernagor, E., Armstrong, L., Lako, M. 1 Oct 2018, In: Stem Cells
  • Unsupervised Spike Sorting for Large-Scale, High-Density Multielectrode Arrays, Hilgen, G., Sorbaro, M., Pirmoradian, S., Muthmann, J., Kepiro, I., Ullo, S., Ramirez, C., Puente Encinas, A., Maccione, A., Berdondini, L., Murino, V., Sona, D., Cella Zanacchi, F., Sernagor, E., Hennig, M. 7 Mar 2017, In: Cell Reports
  • Pan-retinal characterisation of Light Responses from Ganglion Cells in the Developing Mouse Retina, Hilgen, G., Pirmoradian, S., Pamplona, D., Kornprobst, P., Cessac, B., Hennig, M., Sernagor, E. Mar 2017, In: Scientific Reports
  • Human iPSC differentiation to retinal organoids in response to IGF1 and BMP4 activation is line- and method-dependent, Chichagova, V., Hilgen, G., Ghareeb, A., Georgiou, M., Carter, M., Sernagor, E., Lako, M., Armstrong, L. 1 Feb 2020, In: Stem Cells
  • Challenges for automated spike sorting: beware of pharmacological manipulations, Hilgen, G. 30 Nov 2019
  • Decellularised extracellular matrix-derived peptides from neural retina and retinal pigment epithelium enhance the expression of synaptic markers and light responsiveness of human pluripotent stem cell derived retinal organoids, Dorgau, B., Felemban, M., Hilgen, G., Kiening, M., Zerti, D., Hunt, N., Doherty, M., Whitfield, P., Hallam, D., White, K., Ding, Y., Krasnogor, N., Al-Aama, J., Asfour, H., Sernagor, E., Lako, M. 1 Apr 2019, In: Biomaterials
  • Non-parametric physiological classification of retinal ganglion cells in the mouse retina, Jouty, J., Hilgen, G., Sernagor, E., Hennig, M. 7 Dec 2018, In: Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
  • Effects of Touch Location and Intensity on Interneurons of the Leech Local Bend Network, Pirschel, F., Hilgen, G., Kretzberg, J. 1 Dec 2018, In: Scientific Reports
  • Higher network activity induced by tactile compared to electrical stimulation of leech mechanoreceptors, Fathiazar, E., Hilgen, G., Kretzberg, J. 7 Mar 2018, In: Frontiers in Physiology
  • Dampening spontaneous activity improves the light sensitivity and spatial acuity of optogenetic retinal prosthetic responses, Barrett, J., Hilgen, G., Sernagor, E. Dec 2016, In: Scientific Reports

Professional Activity


  • Neurosciences PhD June 07 2012
  • Full Member Anatomical Society 2018
  • Full Member Physiological Society 2016

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