Professor de Ruyter received a B.A. in Physics with a minor in Mathematics (1981), and a Ph.D. in Experimental Physics (1986) from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. After Postdoctoral work at the Departments of Zoology in Cambridge (UK) and Physics in Groningen, he took a position in Audiology at the ENT Clinic of the University Hospital, Groningen. Here he was involved in audiological testing and rehabilitation of patients, and the design of tests for use in fitting hearing aids. In addition he did research in photodynamic therapy. In 1992 he moved to the newly formed NEC Research Institute in Princeton, NJ. Here he set up an experimental laboratory to study sensory signal processing in the blowfly brain by electrophysiological techniques, concentrating on motion detection in the visual system. His main research activities there revolved around developing a quantitative understanding of neural coding and computation and the reliability of neural signals. He joined IU in 2003 as the Jack and Linda Gill professor of Physics. His current research interests focus on elucidating principles of optimization and adaptation in neural computation, especially in the context of natural sensory signals.
De Ruyter has published on a variety of topics in neural coding and neural computation and has co-authored a monograph on neural information processing (Spikes: Exploring the Neural Code, MIT Press, 1997). He was elected fellow of the American Physical Society in 2000, and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Linda and Jack Gill Center at IU. From 1998 to 2002 he co-directed the summer course "Methods in Computational Neuroscience" at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA.