Cognitive Neurobiology

We are interested in how behaviour adapts animals to pursue their goals under the complex conditions of natural environments. Most of our work relates to cognitive abilities during food seeking behaviour, including learning, memory, and their neurobiological foundations. The central nervous system plays a key role here, since at the basis of the interaction between the individual and the environment it not only senses the external world but also generates biologically adequate reactions. For our studies on how animals make decisions we work with laboratory animals (mice and rats) and, to study decision making under natural, ecological conditions, with flower-visiting bats. For the neural substrates of behaviour we are mostly interested in the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. We also use our knowledge of animal behaviour to perform diagnostic tests in mouse and rat models of neurological and psychiatric diseases to promote translational research for medical purposes. This is carried out in the Berlin Mouse Clinic for Neurology and Psychiatry a modern behaviour diagnostic facility that is operated by us within the NeuroCure Center of Excellence. The efficient study of behaviour requires computer-based automation technology. Our own engineering lab develops novel behaviour detection and experimentation technologies using the latest sensors, RFID technology, virtual reality and specialized software algorithms.