Following two PostDocs at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging/Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL in London and the Max-Planck Institute in Berlin, I joined the University of Nottingham to pursue my research as assistant professor.
My research currently has mainly two (related) foci:
On the one hand I am interested how chemical neuromodulators can tune neuronal information processing and thereby enable us to adapt to a range of environmental situations but are also likely to mediate interindividual differences in behaviour and cognition.
On the other hand I am interested in how our brain combines previously learned information (e.g. long term episodic memory and semantic memory) or higher level goals with the sensory signals provided by our instantaneous environment during perception and decision making.
It is well known that the superior capabilities of the human mind relies particularly on the efficient use and combination of these types of 'information', yet the neuronal mechanisms underlying its integration are currently debated. One aspect of particular relevance here are oscillatory synchronization phenomena - brain waves - that may have specific roles for communicating such bottom-up and top-down driven signals between different levels of the cortical hierarchy.
My main expertise is in brain imaging techniques, particularly electrophysiology, statistical methods as well as in theory and experimental procedures of perception, attention, decision making and neurochemistry.
I am currently enrolled in the Biological Psychology module and teach particularly on signal transmission in neuronal systems and neuroanatomy.
Besides that I am a tutor and responsible for subsidiary students.
My current research focusses on the neurophysiological principles underlying perception, attention and decision making, in particular with respect to oscillatory dynamics and neuromodulation. I use a… read more
My current research focusses on the neurophysiological principles underlying perception, attention and decision making, in particular with respect to oscillatory dynamics and neuromodulation. I use a combination of noninvaisve electrophysiological techniques in humans Magnetoencephalography/Electroencephalography (MEG/EEG) with pharmacological interventions and brain stimulation (e.g. TMS).
One key aspect of my work is to delineate the interactions between afferent inputs, information arriving through sensory epithelia, e.g. the eyes, the skin - and top-down inputs, such as 'goals', or memory related representations typically assumed to originate from 'higher-order' or frontal/temporal brain regions. It is known that our superior cognitive capabilities result from a highly efficient integration and (attentional) selection of this information, often thought to be "statistically optimal".
My interest in this (based on my previous work) lies in the signals that are conveying this information, and how these are modulated (i.e. how their balance can be shifted) by different chemical systems - that may also explain interindividual differences.
In my future research I aim to understand how differences between individuals in these fundamental processes govern the interindividual differences in more complex behaviour and phentotype, hence to some extent personality.
This shall be achieved by a combination of neuroimaging, neuropharmacological and behavioural research paradigms.