My core research interest is in the function of neuronal oscillations in the waking and the sleeping human brain.
In particular, I am interested in the general mechanisms by which neuronal oscillations contribute to the organization of
information flow and the gating of synaptic plasticity that underlie fundamental cognitive processes like attention and memory.
Since my PhD, working with Hartwig Siebner (University of Kiel, now Copenhagen) and Jan Born (University of Lübeck, now Tübingen),
I am investigating how the interaction of sleep-specific neuronal oscillations, like slow oscillations and sleep spindles,
promotes the reactivation and consolidation of newly acquired memory traces during sleep. I am particularly interested in the
oscillatory mechanisms mediating (i) the induction, consolidation, and homeostatic regulation of cortical plasticity and
(ii) the oscillatory underpinnings of the hippocampo-neocortical dialogue.
Since my subsequent PostDoc with Ole Jensen (Donders Institute for Brain Cognition and Behaviour, Nijmegen),
I am also studying the role of alpha oscillations in visual attention. Alpha oscillations are hypothesized to actively gate
information flow in the brain by means of 'pulsed inhibition', i.e., the rhythmic suppression of task-irrelevant neuronal representations
and the prioritization of task-relevant ones. My special interest is on how primary sensory alpha oscillations are top-down controlled
(e.g., by the frontal eye fields) during voluntary shifts of visuospatial and cross-modal attention and whether they can be
entrained and modulated transcranially by means of magnetic and electrical stimulation.
After a temporary return to Kiel, teaching research methods and cognitive neuroscience at the Institute of Psychology from 2014-2015,
I have moved on to the University of Tübingen, working with Ulf Ziemann on the neurophysiology of the sensorimotor µ‑rhythm and
with Jan Born on the functiom of spindle and theta oscillations during sleep.
Recently, I became PI of the newly established Neurostimulaton reseach group at the German Resilience Center / Deutsches Resilienz Zentrum (DRZ) gGmbH in Mainz.
Here, I am working on the develoment and application of multimodal neurostimulation methods with a focus on brain state-dependent brain stimulation,
to study the neuronal oscillatory mechanisms that mediate resilience against stress-induced dysfunctional emotional memory representations during wake and sleep.
In general, I am pursuing a multimodal approach to tackle my research questions, combining a wide range of brain imaging and electrophysiological methods such
as fMRI, surface EEG, intracranial EEG, MEG, EMG, and polysomnography (PSG) with non-invasive brain stimulation techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
and transcranial direct/alternating current stimulation (TDCS/TACS). My particular expertise is on the combined application of these techniques,
both offline/consecutively (TMS-EEG, TMS-MEG) as well as online/concurrently (EEG-fMRI, TMS-EEG, TCS-EEG, TCS-MEG, and TCS-TMS). Currently I am focusing
in particular on the technique of EEG-triggered TMS to target specific oscillatory brain states (e.g., amplitude levels and phase angles of ongoing neuronal oscillations).
For the transsynaptical stimulation of deeper brain structures (such as hippocampus, amygdala, centomodial PFC, etc.) via superficial cortical entry sites,
I am now starting a research line that utilizes functional/structural connectivity-informed concurrent TMS-fMRI to ensure effective target engagement.