Otmar D. Wiestler was born in Freiburg, Germany on November 6, 1956. After completion of his medical training at the University of Freiburg Medical School, he received his M.D. in 1984. From 1984 to 1987 he trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Pathology, University of California in San Diego, USA.
After a five year period as senior resident and Assistant Professor in Neuropathology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, he moved to the University of Bonn in 1992, where he was appointed as Professor of Neuropathology and Head of the Department of Neuropathology where he established a major neuroscience research center. In January 2004 he joined the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (German Cancer Research Center, DKFZ) in Heidelberg as Chairman and Scientific Member of the Management Board.
Otmar D. Wiestler has served on many scientific and professional boards, as Head of the German Brain Tumor Reference Center in Bonn, Chairman of the BONFOR research committee at the University of Bonn, President of the German Society of Neuropathology and Neuroanatomy, Head of the Review Board Theoretical Medicine of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Member of the Medical Advisory Boards of Deutsche Krebshilfe (German Cancer Aid) and of the Hertie Foundation (Gemeinnützige Hertie-Stiftung), as CEO of the Life & Brain Neuroscience platform in Bonn and as Vice-President of the Helmholtz Association.
He has contributed more than 300 papers and book chapters to the scientific literature. He has also served as an editorial board member of several international journals, including Acta Neuropathologica (Editor), Brain Pathology, Cancer Letters, Carcinogenesis, Journal of Neurology, Neuropathology & Applied Neurobiology.
Since 2001 he is an elected member of the German Life Science Academy LEOPOLDINA. In 2004, he received the German Federal Cross of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz).