Hosts

The travel grants enable international postdocs to explore our research location on site and connect with our researchers, in particular with the seven hosts. Here you find more information on the hosts for the international postdocs. Additionally you can connect with our PIs during your stay.

Our Hosts

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Onur Güntürkün

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Onur Güntürkün

Biopsychology

 

Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Faculty of Psychology
Department of Biopsychology
Email: onur.guentuerkuen@rub.de

 

www.bio.psy.ruhr-uni-bochum.de

I aim to understand how neurons generate mental functions. To this end, I combine experiments with (in descending order of publication numbers) pigeons, humans, dolphins, corvids, and Nile crocodiles. Thus, I try to combine the depth of neuronal analysis using animal experiments (single cell recordings, behavioral studies, neuroanatomical, neurochemical and neuroimaging analyses) with the power of cognitive experiments using human subjects (behavioral experiments, fMRI, patient studies). With this approach, three research topics are analyzed. One of them is cerebral asymmetry: Here, I try to disentangle the principles, with which lateralization’s emerge in ontogeny and create their profound impact on the way organisms perceive, think and act. The second interest field is cognitive control. Here, I analyze prefrontal functions with respect to executive functions and decision making. The third interest field is the evolution of cognition; an area in which I collect evidence that birds and mammals have taking different but converging ways to establish equally powerful forebrain structures.
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Bingel

Prof. Dr. Ulrike Bingel

Neurology

University Duisburg-Essen

Faculty of Medicine

Clinic for Neurology

Email: ulrike.bingel@uk-essen.de

 

www.uni-due.de

Prof. Dr. Ulrike Bingel and her research group focuses on the interaction between pain and cognitive processes. We have a longstanding expertise in investigating the CNS mechanisms underlying nociception, pain, and pain modulation in health and disease. In our research, we use behavioural paradigms, pharmacological modulations, as well as functional and structural brain imaging. Being particularly intrigued by the reciprocal effects of pain and cognition, we have a strong focus on translational questions such as the role of expectations and prior experiences on analgesic treatment outcomes. Our interdisciplinary research group comprises neurologists, neuroscientists, psychologists, biologists, and computer scientists and is based at the Department of Neurology at the University Medicine Essen. We are affiliated with the Erwin-L-Hahn institute for magnetic resonance imaging and the Translational Pain Research Department of the University Pain Center. Our research is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
Prof. Dr. Matthias Brand

Prof. Dr. Matthias Brand

Computer science and applied cognitive science

University Duisburg-Essen

Department of General Psychology: Cognition

Division of Computer science and applied cognitive science

Email: matthias.brand@uni-due.de

www.uni-due.de

Our research focuses on cognitive and affective mechanisms of human decision-making behavior, especially in the context of behavioral addictions. We use experimental psychological paradigms, neuropsychological testing procedures, and questionnaires. Going beyond behavioral data, we also use physiological methods to measure changes in heart rate, skin conductance, (stress) hormone concentration, or brain activity. The connection to the Erwin L. Hahn Institute for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (ELH) in Essen enables us to perform brain imaging studies using a 7 Tesla fMRI. We are particularly interested in the question of why individuals repeatedly choose to engage in a specific behavior despite experiencing negative consequences as a result. We look at specific forms of addictive Internet use, e.g., in the context of gaming, online shopping, use of online pornography, or use of social networks, and explore their potential similarities and differences in the addiction development process (esp. in the DFG Research Unit FOR2974).

Prof. Dr. Sen Cheng

Prof. Dr. Sen Cheng

Computational Neuroscience

 

Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Institute for Neuroinformatics
Computational Neuroscience
Email: sen.cheng@ruhr-uni-bochum.de

 

www.ini.rub.de

My research group investigates the neural mechanisms underlying learning and memory. We are primarily interested in the hippocampus, the brain region that is mainly involved in episodic memory, as well as in the learning and memory of sequences. Our research focuses on the dynamics of these processes, which has received relatively little attention to date.

 

We employ two complementary approaches. Our first approach is modeling, including mathematic models as well as computer simulation of complex networks. While all models are simplified, we aim to build biologically realistic models that capture the essence of the neural circuit mechanism underlying learning and memory. Our second approach is data-mining. We develop methods for model-based data analysis and apply such methods to experimental data. These data include electrophysiological and EEG recordings as well as behavioral data. We collaborate closely with neuroscientists on the RUB campus and at other universities in Germany and abroad.

Prof. Dr. Denise Manahan-Vaughan

Prof. Dr. Denise Manahan-Vaughan

Neurophysiology

 

Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Faculty of Medicine
Department of Neurophysiology

Email: Denise.Manahan-Vaughan@ruhr-uni-bochum.de

 

www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de

We focus on the characterisation of hippocampal synaptic plasticity as a learning mechanism. Two types of synaptic plasticity are primarily investigated: long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD). We also study metaplasticity (as a higher order modulator of synaptic plasticity).
We have a multidisciplinary approach which incorporates in vivo electrophysiology in freely moving rodents with in vitro electrophysiology using the hippocampal slice preparation, as well as behavioral analysis of learning, confocal microscopy, immunohistochemical, biochemical and molecular biological analysis. We are interested in both the physiology and pathology of learning and memory / synaptic plasticity.


On a physiological level we examine how synaptic plasticity, place cells and neuronal oscillations contribute to learning and how learning drives synaptic plasticity in health and disease. Here in vivo electrophysiology and EEG analysis is combined with behavioral learning models and animal models of brain disorders.

Prof. Dr. Albert Newen

Prof. Dr. Albert Newen

Philosophy of Mind

 

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Faculty of Philosophy and Educational Research
Institute for Philosophy II

Email: Albert.Newen@rub.de

 

www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de

One central aim is to work out a general theory of mind combining the framework of situated cognition with representational theories of cognition. Methodologically, this is done from the perspective of interdisciplinary philosophy grounding philosophical theory formation intensely on studies in psychology, psychiatry and neurosciences. One institutional framework is the Research Training Group on “Situated Cognition” which deals with the question of how cognitive processes interact with external influences to produce the mental abilities of humans. The main goal of the research group is to work out the deficits of traditional models of the human mind and to bring together key empirical findings of cognitive science in a new branch of a theory of ‘situated cognition’.
One important development is the predictive processing framework which is also of great interest for our theory formation. Central topics of interest are not only the general theory of mind and cognition but of course also more detailed discussions of perception, memory and action.

Prof. Dr. Konstanze F. Winklhofer

Prof. Dr. Konstanze F. Winklhofer

Biochemistry

 

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Medical Faculty

Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Institute of Biochemistry and Pathobiochemistry

Department of Molecular Cell Biology

Email: konstanze.winklhofer@rub.de

 

www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de

Our research interest is focused on quality control and stress response pathways that are essential to maintain neuronal viability and organellar integrity. A decreased efficiency of these pathways is associated with aging and can lead to age-related pathologies, such as neurodegenerative diseases. In this context, a major focus of our work are the causes and consequences of protein misfolding and the role of mitochondria as key organelles in orchestrating cell death and viability and regulating cellular bioenergetics.

 

Specifically, our ongoing projects concentrate on the following aspects:

 

(1) Ubiquitin signaling at the interface between stress protection and immune responses
(2) Pathways maintaining mitochondrial integrity
(3) The role of interorganellar crosstalk in the cellular stress response
(4) Cellular quality control pathways to prevent proteotoxic stress

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