As an undergraduate, Dr. Hiesinger studied genetics, computational biology and philosophy at the University of Freiburg in Germany. Under the guidance of Dr. Fischbach at the University of Freiburg, Germany, and Dr. Meinerzthagen at Dalhousie University, Canada, he subsequently received his PhD from the University of Freiburg for his work on visual system development in the fruit fly and computational visualization techniques.

During his postdoctoral work under Dr. Bellen at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Dr. Hiesinger extended his studies on nervous system function in the fruit fly to the genetic, biochemical and physiological investigation of molecular and cellular mechanisms of synapse development and function.

Dr. Hiesinger joined the faculty of UT Southwestern as an Endowed Scholar in the Department of Physiology in 2006. Currently, the lab uses genetic, computational, live imaging, biochemical and electrophysiological approaches in the study of synapse specification, function and maintenance.


Graduate School "university of Freiburg, Germany"
Graduate School "university of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany" (1997)

Research Interest

  • Brain Wiring / Synaptic Specification
  • Computational Approaches to 4D Visualization and Simulation
  • Membrane Fusion
  • Neurogenetics
  • Synapse Function / Neurotransmitter Release


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Calcium/Calmodulin regulates SNARE assembly and spontaneous neurotransmitter release via v-ATPase subunit V0a1
Wang, D., Epstein, D., Khalaf, O., Srinivasan, S., Williamson, W.R., Fayyazuddin, A., Quiocho, F.A., and Hiesinger, P.R. J. Cell Biol. 2014 205
Charcot-Marie-Tooth 2B mutations in rab7 cause dosage-dependent neurodegeneration due to partial loss of function.
Cherry S, Jin EJ, Ozel MN, Lu Z, Agi E, Wang D, Jung WH, Epstein D, Meinertzhagen IA, Chan CC, Hiesinger PR Elife 2013 2 e01064
The synaptic vesicle SNARE neuronal Synaptobrevin promotes endolysosomal degradation and prevents neurodegeneration.
Haberman A, Williamson WR, Epstein D, Wang D, Rina S, Meinertzhagen IA, Hiesinger PR J. Cell Biol. 2012 Jan 196 2 261-76
Systematic Discovery of Rab GTPases with Synaptic Functions in Drosophila.
Chan CC, Scoggin S, Wang D, Cherry S, Dembo T, Greenberg B, Jin EJ, Kuey C, Lopez A, Mehta SQ, Perkins TJ, Brankatschk M, Rothenfluh A, Buszczak M, Hiesinger PR Current biology : CB 2011 Oct
A dual function of V0-ATPase a1 provides an endolysosomal degradation mechanism in Drosophila melanogaster photoreceptors.
Williamson WR, Wang D, Haberman AS, Hiesinger PR J. Cell Biol. 2010 May 189 5 885-99
Guidance receptor degradation is required for neuronal connectivity in the Drosophila nervous system.
Williamson WR, Yang T, Terman JR, Hiesinger PR PLoS Biol. 2010 8 12 e1000553
NAD synthase NMNAT acts as a chaperone to protect against neurodegeneration.
Zhai RG, Zhang F, Hiesinger PR, Cao Y, Haueter CM, Bellen HJ Nature 2008 Apr 452 7189 887-91
Genetics in the age of systems biology.
Hiesinger PR, Hassan BA Cell 2005 Dec 123 7 1173-4

Honors & Awards

  • March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Award
  • Whitehall Foundation Award
  • Endowed Scholar, UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
  • EMBO Long-Term Fellowship
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Research Project Award