Karl Zilles

On April 26, 2020 our dear friend and highly esteemed colleague, Professor Emeritus Karl Zilles, passed away after a long and serious illness. Karl Zilles was director of the Institute of Medicine for many years, later of the Institute of Neurosciences and Biophysics and finally of the Institute of Neurosciences and Medicine at Forschungszentrum Jülich. For many years, he headed the C. and O. Vogt Institute for Brain Research at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and he was the second head of the institute after the two eponyms, whose great tradition he revived.  In great consternation and deep sadness we must now take leave of Karl. In our thoughts we are with his closest relatives and friends.

To give everyone the opportunity to say goodbye in these special times, a digital condolence book has been set up so that friends, colleagues, and companions have the opportunity to commemorate Karl - with words, pictures or by lighting a candle. You can reach the digital condolence book via the following link: https://trauer.op-online.de/traueranzeige/profdrmeddrmed-hc-karl-zilles

Karl Zilles,


Prof. Karl Zilles, MD, PhD, graduated from the University of Frankfurt and received the MD in 1971. He received the PhD (1977) in Anatomy from the Medical School, Hannover, Germany. He became a Full Professor of Anatomy and Neuroanatomy in 1981 at the University of Cologne, and 1991 at the University of Düsseldorf. He was Director of the C. & O. Vogt- Brain Research Institute from 1991 to 2012, and from 1998 to 2012 Director of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine, Research Center Jülich, Germany. He is now JARA-Senior Professor at the Research Center Jülich and at the RWTH University Aachen, Germany. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Brain Structure and Function, and was member of editorial boards of various scientific journals (e.g., Neuroimage). Karl Zilles is Fellow of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and Fellow of the North-Rhine Westphalia Academy of Science and Arts. His research focus is on the structural (cyto- and myeloarchitecture), molecular (receptorarchitecture) and functional (neuroimaging using MRI, fMRI and PET) organization of the mouse, rat, non-human primate and human cerebral cortex. He pioneered brain mapping based on the regional and laminar distribution of transmitter receptors in healthy and pathologically impaired human brains and brains of genetic mouse and models. Recently, he introduced together with Katrin Amunts, Marcus Axer and colleagues an ultra-high-resolution method for nerve fiber and fiber tract visualization based on polarized light imaging in the human brain and those of mouse, rat and monkey.