Dr. rer. nat., Universität Erlangen, 1993
M.Sc., University of Minnesota, 1987
Phone: (+49)-30-2093 47940
Decision making, learning, memory, cognition, virtual reality, behavioural diagnostics of neuropsychiatric dysfunction, behaviour methods development
I am interested in the mechanisms adapting animals to the complexity of natural, ecological environments. After a long interest in physiological mechanisms, I am now more interested in the role of the brain and the behavior it generates. My main interest lies in cognitive abilities during food seeking behaviour, including learning, memory, and their neurobiological foundations. I study mechanisms of behavior in the laboratory from observing mice and rats. But we also study decision making in wild populations of flower visiting bats exposed to automated operant devices in the field. Work in the ill-controlled laboratory of Nature keeps us in touch with the evolutionary selection pressures that ultimately have formed the brains of all species. Recently, I have formed a group that now uses our knowledge of animal behaviour to perform diagnostic tests in mouse and rat models of neurological and psychiatric diseases. This is to make a contribution to medical translational research. We established the Berlin Mouse Clinic for Neurology and Psychiatry as a modern behaviour diagnostic facility that is operated by us within the NeuroCure Center of Excellence at the Charité medical school, Berlin. A long standing interest is the development of computer-based automation technology for the study of behaviour. With our own dedicated engineering lab now at Humboldt University we develop novel behaviour detection and experimentation technologies, advancing the state-of-the-art.