Benjamin Grewe

Work phone:
+41 44 635 30 91
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Focusing on biophysics and cell physiology I carried out my diploma work as a physics undergraduate student in Bert Sakmann’s lab at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. The idea that cutting-edge imaging technology breeds scientific advancement in neuroscience brought me to Fritjof Helmchen’s group at the Brain Research Institute in Zurich, where I developed new high-speed calcium imaging methods to investigate information processing in large neuronal networks with a temporal precision of a few milliseconds. Recognizing the potential of population calcium imaging to investigate large scale neural coding I then decided to join Mark Schnitzer’s group in Stanford, where I studied learning induced changes of neuronal network codes utilizing cutting-edge miniaturized microscopes that allow imaging in freely-moving and behaving animals.
My long-term vision is to extract fundamental principles of network-learning from real biological networks and then to reverse-engineer their functionality as logical, reproducible algorithms. I am convinced that an analytical understanding of neural network computation and learning would allow us to implement similar neural algorithms in software or directly as electrical circuits. Coming close to mimic human thinking and performance such new technologies would be poised to transform our daily use of intelligent systems.
My pet projects outside the lab include breadboarding with deep neural networks on FPGAs and playing around network learning algorithms in Python.


INI-401, 227-1037-00 Introduction to Neuroinformatics
INI-435, 227-0395-00 Neural Systems
INI-507, 227-0421-00 Learning in Deep Artificial and Biological Neuronal Networks





  • Alexander Meulemans, Francesco S. Carzaniga, Johan A.K. Suykens, João Sacramento, Benjamin F. Grewe A Theoretical Framework for Target Propagation, Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems, 33:, 2020
  • Dominic Zhao, Seijin Kobayashi, João Sacramento, Johannes von Oswald Meta-Learning via Hypernetworks, 4th Workshop on Meta-Learning at NeurIPS 2020, Vancouver, Canada., 2020
  • Düring, DN and Dittrich, F and Rocha, MD and Tachibana, RO and Mori, C and Okanoya, K and Boehringer, R and Ehret, B and Grewe, BF and Rauch, M and Paterna, JC and Kasper, R and Gahr, M and Hahnloser, RHR Fast retrograde access to projection neuron circuits underlying vocal learning in songbirds, Cell Reports, 2020
  • Johannes von Oswald, Christian Henning, Benjamin F. Grewe, João Sacramento Continual learning with hypernetworks, International Conference on Learning Representations (spotlight), 2020
  • Oliver Sturman, Lukas von Ziegler, Christa Schläppi, Furkan Akyol, Mattia Privitera, Daria Slominski, Christina Grimm, Laetitia Thieren, Valerio Zerbi, Benjamin Grewe & Johannes Bohacek Deep learning-based behavioral analysis reaches human accuracy and is capable of outperforming commercial solutions, Nature Neuropsychopharmacology, 2020


  • Gregory Corder, Biafra Ahanonu, Benjamin F. Grewe, Dong Wang, Mark J. Schnitzer, Grégory Scherrer An amygdalar neural ensemble that encodes the unpleasantness of pain , Science, 2019
  • Jan Gründemann, Yael Bitterman, Tingjia Lu, Sabine Krabbe, Benjamin F. Grewe, Mark J Schnitzer, Andreas Lüthi Amygdala neuronal ensembles dynamically encode behavioral states., Science, 2019
  • Jérôme Lecoq, Natalia Orlova, Benjamin F. Grewe. Wide. Deep. Fast. Recent Advances in vivo Multi-Photon Microscopy of Neuronal Activity, Journal of Neuroscience, 2019


  • Henning, Christian and von Oswald, Johannes and Sacramento, Joao and Surace, Simone Carlo and Pfister, Jean-Pascal and Grewe, Benjamin F. Approximating the Predictive Distribution via Adversarially-Trained Hypernetworks, Bayesian Deep Learning Workshop, NeurIPS (Spotlight), 2018
  • Parker JG, Marshall JD, Ahanonu B, Wu YW, Kim TH, Grewe BF, Zhang Y, Li JZ, Ding J, Ehlers MD, Schnitzer MJ Diametric neural ensemble dynamics in parkinsonian and dyskinetic states., Nature, 2018



  • Chun Xu, Sabine Krabbe, Jan Gründemann, Paolo Botta, John Fadok, Fumitaka Osakada, Dieter Saur, Benjamin F. Grewe, Mark J. Schnitzer, Ed Callaway, Andreas Lüthi Distinct Hippocampal Pathways Mediate Dissociable Roles of Context in Memory Retrieval., Cell, 167(4):961-972.e16:, 2016


  • Elizabeth J.O. Hamel, Benjamin F. Grewe, Jones G. Parker and Mark J. Schnitzer Cellular level brain imaging in behaving mammals - an engineering approach - REVIEW, Neuron, 86(1):140-159:, 2015
  • Yiyang Gong, Cheng Huang, Jin Zhong Li, Benjamin F. Grewe, Yanping Zhang, Stephan Eismann and Mark J. Schnitzer High-speed recording of neural spikes in awake mice and flies with a fluorescent voltage sensor, Science, 350(6266):1361-6:, 2015


  • Benjamin F. Grewe and Fritjof Helmchen High-speed two-photon calcium imaging of neuronal population activity using acousto-optic deflectors, Cold Spring Harb Protoc, 6:618-29:, 2014
  • Jerome Lecoq, Joan, Dejan Vučinić, Benjamin F. Grewe, Huyn Kim, Jin-Zhong Li, Lacey Kitch and Mark J. Schnitzer Visualizing mammalian brain area interactions by dual-axis two-photon calcium imaging, Nat. Neurosc., 17(12):1825-9:, 2014
  • Benjamin F. Grewe, Fritjof Helmchen and Björn Kampa Two-Photon Imaging of Neuronal Network Dynamics in Neocortex, Optical imaging of cortical circuit dynamics, Springer Publishing, 2014


  • Benjamin F. Grewe High-speed in vivo imaging of neuronal activity using acousto-optic scanners, Understanding Biophotonics: Fundamentals, Advances and Applications, Pan Stanford Publishing, 2013


  • Guyllaume Coiret, Jeanne Ster, Benjamin F. Grewe, Fabrice Wendling, Helmchen F, Urs Gerber and Pascal Benquet Neuron to astrocyte communication via cannabinoid receptors is necessary for sustained epileptiform activity in rat hippocampus, Plos One, 7(5):e37320:, 2012
  • Mélissa Farinelli, Fabrice Heitz, Benjamin F. Grewe, Shiva Tyagarajan, Fritjof Helmchen, and Isabelle Mansuy Protein Phosphatase-1 Promotes Neuroprotection by Modulating NR2B-Containing NMDA Receptors, Plos One, 7(3):e34047:, 2012
  • Rohit Prakash, Ofer Yizhar, Benjamin F. Grewe, Charu Ramakrishnan , Nancy Wang, Inbal Goshen, Adam M. Packer, Darcy S. Peterka, Raphael Yuste, Mark J. Schnitzer and Karl Deisseroth Two-photon optogenetic toolbox for fast inhibition, excitation and bistable modulation, Nat. Methods, 9(12):1171-9:, 2012
  • Audrey Bonan*, Benjamin F. Grewe* and Andreas Frick Calcium Imaging Techniques In Vitro to Explore the Role of Dendrites in Signaling Physiological Action Potential Patterns, Visualization Techniques -From Immunohistochemistry to Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 2012


  • Benjamin F. Grewe, Fabian F. Voigt, Marcel van ’t Hoff and Fritjof Helmchen Fast two-layer two-photon imaging of neuronal cell populations using an electrically tunable lens, Biomedical Opt. Exp., 2(7):2035–2046:, 2011
  • Jeanne Ster, José María Mateos, Benjamin F. Grewe, Guyllaume Coiret, Fritjof Helmchen and Urs Gerber On diffusion-related entropy functions: the enhanced case, PNAS, (108) 24:9993-97:, 2011


  • Benjamin F. Grewe, Audrey Bonan and Andreas Frick Backpropagation of realistic action potential output along apical and basal dendrites of slender-tufted L5A pyramidal neurons, Front. in Cell. Neurosc., 18:4-13:, 2010
  • Benjamin F. Grewe, Dominik Langer, Björn Kampa and Fritjof Helmchen High-speed in vivo calcium imaging reveals spike trains in neuronal networks with near-millisecond precision, Nat Methods, 7:399-405:, 2010


  • Benjamin F. Grewe and Fritjof Helmchen Optical probing of neuronal ensemble activity - REVIEW, Curr. Op. Neurobiol., 19:520-9:, 2009