Connecting European Neuroscience

Ileana Hanganu-Opatz

Ordinary member, Committee on Higher Education and Training (CHET) (July 2016 - July 2020)



2002 Doctoral examination (grade 1.0, magna cum laude)

1999 - 2002 Graduate Student at Heinrich Heine-University Düsseldorf

1997-1998 Diploma (grade 1.0 with honors) in Biology and Biochemistry. Experimental work for diploma thesis at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf funded by an EU-TEMPUS fellowship

1994 - 1998 Undergraduate studies of Biology and Biochemistry, University Bucharest

1990-1994 National high school of Computer Sciences and Mathematics, Bucharest. School leaving examination (grade 1.1)

Professional Experience

2016 Full Professor at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

2015 Offer of chair W3-Professor at University Medical Center Homburg an der Saar, call denied

2012 Offer of chair W2-Professor at University Medical Center RWTH Aachen, call denied

2009-2016 Professor (W2) for Developmental Neurophysiology at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

2009-2015 Leader of an independent research group funded by the Emmy Noether-Program of the German Research Foundation (DFG)

2009 Habilitation (Venia legendi for Physiology) at University Mainz

2008 Offer of chair W2-Professor at Charité, University Medical Center Berlin, call denied

2008-2015 Leader of an independent research group funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

2005 - 2007 Postdoctoral Researcher at Institut de Neurobiologie de la Méditerranée (INSERM), Marseille

2002 - 2005 Postdoctoral Researcher at University Mainz.

Honours and awards

2015 ERC Consolidator Grant

Since 2014 Member of Member of FENS-Kavli Network of Excellence

2011 Invited Speaker at Joint German-Japanese Symposium “150 years of German-Japanese Friendship: Supporting tomorrow’s leading researchers”, Tokyo (Japan)

2008 Du Bois-Reymond-Award of the German Society of Physiology

2008 Fellow of the Emmy Noether Program of the DFG.

General administrative and organisational experience

Institutional responsibilities

Since 2015 Member of the executive board of Collaborative Research Center 936

Since 2013 Member of the animal protection committee of city Hamburg

Since 2012 Coordinator of a German Research Council (DFG) -funded Priority Program

Since 2012 Member of AcademiaNet

2011 Consultant of the German Science Council

Since 2011 Member of the executive board of the Hamburg Center of Neuroscience

2009-2011 Scientific coordinator of the German-Japanese Collaboration funded by DFG

2009-2012 Member of the doctoral board at UKE

2009-2011 Member of the research board at UKE

Organization of scientific meetings

2015 Symposium at 11th Meeting of the German Neuroscience Society (NWG), Göttingen

2014 34th Blankenese Conference, Hamburg

2014 Symposium at IMRF, Amsterdam

2011 Symposium at 9th Meeting of NWG, Göttingen

2010 Symposium at 32nd Annual Meeting of the Japan Neuroscience Society, Nagoya.

Expertise in national or international training of students

Since 2015 International partner for the PIRE NSF-funded International Program for the Advancement of Neurotechnologies (including training of US students)

2013-2016 Co-organizer of 3 methodological workshops for graduate students enrolled in the Priority Program 1665 and Collaborative Research Center 936 funded by the DFG

Since 2013 Mentor for young female researchers and best 5% of medical students at UKE

Since 2011 Member of the reviewer board of the DAAD-funded National Graduate School Scholarship Program

Since 2006 Supervision of 7 PhD students, 5 MD students, 2 Master students.

Research interests

Our group aims at elucidating the mechanisms underlying the maturation of neuronal networks under physiological and pathophysiological conditions. In particular, we assess the role of early network oscillations for the development of local and long-range communication in the brain in relationship with the emergence of cognitive behavior and multisensory perception. For this, we combine state-of-the-art electrophysiological methods and optogenetics with imaging and behavioral assessment.

The following main topics are currently being investigated:

  • Development of neuronal networks accounting for cognitive processing;
  • Uni- and multisensory processing and ontogeny;
  • Dysfunction of neuronal networks and their early coordinated activity in neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders;
  • Olfactory control of cognitive ontogeny.


h-Index: 17
Cumulative impact factor:247; Sum of citations: 1008; Average number of citations/original publication: 20
36 original publications, 13 as first author, 13 as last author, 7 reviews, 1 book chapter

Ten major publications

1) Sieben, K., Bieler, M., Röder, B., Hanganu-Opatz, I. L. (2015) Neonatal Restriction of Tactile Inputs Leads to Long-Lasting Impairments of Cross-Modal Processing. PLoS Biol. 13: e1002304.

2) Marguet, S. L., Le-Schulte, V. T., Merseburg, A., Neu, A., Eichler, R., Jakovcevski, I., Ivanov, A., Hanganu-Opatz, I. L., Bernard, C., Morellini, F., Isbrandt, D. (2015) Treatment during a vulnerable developmental period rescues a genetic epilepsy. Nat Med. 21(12) :1436-44.

3) Bitzenhofer, S. H., Sieben, K., Siebert, K., Spehr, M., Hanganu-Opatz, I. L. (2015) Oscillatory activity in developing prefrontal networks results from theta-gamma modulated synaptic inputs. Cell Reports 11: 486-97.

4) Sieben, K., Röder, B., Hanganu-Opatz, I. L. (2013) Oscillatory entrainment of primary somatosensory cortex encodes visual control of tactile processing. J Neurosci 33: 5736-49.

5) Janiesch, P. C., Krüger, H-S., Pöschel, B., Hanganu-Opatz, I. L. (2011) Cholinergic control in developing prefrontal-hippocampal networks. J Neurosci 31: 17955-17970.

6) Brockmann, M. D., Pöschel, B., Cichon, N., Hanganu-Opatz, I. L. (2011) Coupled oscillations mediate directed interactions between prefrontal cortex and hippocampus of the neonatal rat. Neuron 71: 332-347.

7) Hanganu-Opatz, I. L. (2010) Between molecules and experience: role of early patterns of coordinated activity for the development of cortical maps and sensory abilities. Brain Res Rev 64: 160-76.

8) Yang*, J-W., Hanganu-Opatz*, I. L., Sun, J-J., Luhmann, H. J. (2009) Three patterns of oscillatory activity differentially synchronize developing neocortical networks in vivo. J Neurosci 9: 9011-9025.

9) Hanganu, I. L., Ben-Ari, Y., Khazipov, R. (2006) Retinal waves trigger spindle bursts in the neonatal visual cortex. J Neurosci 26: 6728-6736.

10) Dupont*, E., Hanganu*, I. L., Kilb, W., Hirsch, S., Luhmann, H. J. (2006) Rapid developmental switch in the mechanisms driving early cortical columnar networks. Nature 439: 79-83. 

Ileana Hanganu-Opatz

Full Professor
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
Developmental Neurophysiology
Falkenried 94
20251 Hamburg, Germany.