Ilka Diester studied biology with a focus on molecular and computational aspects at Humboldt University in Berlin. In 2008, she received her PhD about the “Representations of numerical formats in the monkey association cortex’ in the laboratory of Andreas Nieder in Tübingen. Her PhD work was awarded with the Academy prize for Biology of the Academy of Science of Göttingen in 2009. Supported by the Human Frontiers Science Program, Ilka spend three years as a postdoctoral fellow in the labs of Karl Deisseroth and Krishna Shenoy at Stanford University where she established optogenetics in monkeys. After her postdoctoral phase, she returned to Germany in 2011 and established her own lab at the Ernst Strüngmann Institute for Neuroscience in Cooperation with Max Planck Society, where she combined her previous research fields and techniques, namely cognitive neuroscience, electrophysiology, molecular biology, optogenetics, and motor control. For her work, Ilka received the Boehringer-Ingelheim award in 2012 and the TILL Photonics Technocology Prize 2013. Further, Ilka was awarded the Bernstein Award for Computational Neuroscience in 2012, and the ERC Starting Grant in 2013. In 2014 Ilka was appointed as Professor of Optophysiology at the University of Freiburg. Since 2020, Ilka is director of the IMBIT, a building for research about Intelligent Machine Brain Interfacing Technology, and speaker of the Center BrainLinks-BrainTools. Her research group focuses on the investigation of cognitive motor control with optogenetic, electrophysiological and imaging techniques in rodents.