Pieter R. Roelfsema received his MD degree at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands in 1991. For his PhD work he went to the group of Wolf Singer at the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt (Germany) to work on the visual system of the cat and the role of neuronal synchronization. He received his PhD degree at the University of Amsterdam in 1995. He then worked as postdoc in the department Visual Systems Analysis at the University of Amsterdam headed by Henk Spekreijse where he worked together with Victor Lamme.
In 2002 he became workgroup leader at the Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute, which became part of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in 2005.
In 2007 he was appointed as general director of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, an institute of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences of the Netherlands.
In 2005 he became strategic Professor at the Free University of Amsterdam and in 2012 also Professor at the AMC in Amsterdam. Pieter Roelfsema was member of the Dutch Young Academy from 2005 to 2010, and he is now ambassador for the Dutch Young Academy. He studies visual perception, plasticity and memory in the visual system using multi-electrode recording techniques in experimental animals, behavioral paradigms in humans, and computational neuroscience approaches.