Iris Salecker conducted her undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Regensburg (Germany). Subsequently, funded by a fellowship of the French Government, she worked for nine months in the CNRS laboratory of Dr. Yves Pichon in Gif-sur-Yvette (France). She then returned to Germany for her graduate studies under the direction of Dr. Juergen Boeckh. She obtained a PhD degree in neurobiology from the University of Regensburg in 1995, investigating the development of the olfactory system in hemimetabolous insects.
In the same year, she joined the laboratory of Dr S. Lawrence Zipursky at UCLA, Los Angeles, USA, as a postdoc supported initially by a fellowship of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and then by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Here, she began to work on the molecular mechanisms regulating photoreceptor axon guidance in the developing visual system of Drosophila.
In 2000, she moved to the UK to establish her first independent research group as a career-track and subsequently tenured program leader in the Division of Molecular Neurobiology at the Medical Research Council National Institute for Medical Research in London (now part of the Francis Crick Institute). She became part of the EMBO Young Investigator program in 2003 and an EMBO member in 2013. Her current team, consisting of two PhD students and three postdoctoral fellows, continues to study the mechanisms underlying visual circuit assembly in Drosophila, with a special interest in axon-target and neuron-glia interactions.