Horst H. Simon did his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Tubingen, Germany and at The Federal Institute for Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland. He then moved on to obtain a PhD in Developmental Neurobiology at the University of London, King's College, under the supervision of Andrew Lumsden. After completion of his PhD, he spent several years at the Salk Institute, La Jolla, USA in the laboratory of Dennis O'Leary supported by the HFSPO, the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation and by an NRSA. In 1999, he was appointed as an independent group leader in the Interdisciplinary Center of Neuroscience at the University of Heidelberg supported by the German Federal Secretary of Education and Research under the Biofuture program. His research is focused on the molecular factors that control differentiation and maintenance of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons. One particular emphasis lies on identifying those genes that explain the particular vulnerability of the dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc).