My main research interest focuses on a better insight into how neuronal networks support cognitive flexibility in a context-specific manner. How do we make decisions and how do the outcome and interpretation thereof affect our future goals, contextual interpretations, and decisions? Long-term or drastic misinterpretation of decisions outcomes can lead to a range of behavioral and neurophysiological coping mechanisms often resulting in psychiatric conditions and symptoms. At the same time, maladaptive developmental processes can lead to similarly detrimental outcomes with measurable neuropathological manifestations. My aim is to improve the understanding neurobiological foundation of those processes and develop better model systems for stringent and efficient testing of potential rescue options of psychiatric disorders.
With colleagues and collaborators, I pursue an integrated approach by applying novel and state-of-the-art techniques to solve psychiatric maladaptation of our brains. Not only are we faced with an immense number of synaptic connections of a diverse range of neurons in the brain but at the same time, we face, in a time-dependent manner, an intricate and complex molecular communication system within and across cells including glia and astrocytes. I believe neither in a stringent bottom-up or top-down approach but a concerted and translational consistent effort to elucidate the interconnected pieces of the jigsaw puzzle.
Computationally I am intrigued by how higher cognitive areas are performing both energy-efficiently while being resilient against major processing errors. How the brain achieves both goals at the same time is one of the mysteries to be solved and inspires my research daily. For this purpose, I am both intrigued and interested in collaborative development and testing of computational models of cognitive flexibility.
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