Carsten Finke

Principal Investigator 

Carsten is a consultant neurologist and assistant professor with joint appointment at the Department of Neurology at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. He is interested in the clinical and cognitive neuroscience of memory and memory disorders with a specific focus on neurological diseases associated with hippocampal dysfunction, e.g. autoimmune and viral encephalitis, transient global amnesia and temporal lobe epilepsy.

Maria Alcobendas Liern

PhD student (SFB 1315, PIs Ploner/Finke)

Maria studied Biochemistry (BSc) in Madrid and Neuroscience (MSc) in Freiburg and Leipzig. She joined the lab in November 2022 as part of the SFB 1315 „memory consolidation“ project. She is interested in the contextual modulation of spatial memory consolidation, with a special focus on the role of the hippocampus and neocortex and their relative contribution over time. For that, she uses behavioral,  EEG and fMRI approaches and works with neurological patients and healthy subjects.

Frederik Bartels


Frederik studied medicine at Heidelberg University, Université de Lausanne, University College London, and Columbia University. For his doctoral thesis he examined molecular mechanisms of glioblastoma invasiveness at the German Cancer Research Center. Currently, he is training as a neurologist at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and working as a clinician scientist in our lab. He is interested in neuroimmunological diseases, including autoimmune encephalitis, antibody-mediated and paraneoplastic neurological disorders.

    Karla General

    Research Assistant

    Karla is currently completing her master’s in psychology at Humboldt University Berlin and joined our lab in January 2023 as a Research Assistant. She contributes to various research activities, including conducting MRI scans and administering neuropsychological tests as well as VR experiments. Karla is also involved in recruitment of study participants and data management.

      Steffen Häseli

      Research Assistant

      Steffen is a medical student at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and joined the lab in January 2023 as a Research Assistant. He is involved in recruiting study participants, conducting neuropsychological testing and MRI scans, as well as in data management. Steffen holds a degree in molecular nutrition (M.Sc., FSU Jena).

      Tim Hartung


      Tim is investigating imaging markers of neuroimmunological diseases using methods such as resting-state and quantitative MRI. Coming from a background in psycho-oncology and clinical neurology, he has a keen interest in epidemiology and psychometrics. Tim holds degrees in psychology and philosophy (M.A., University of Cambridge) and medicine (M.D., Leipzig University).

      Deetje Iggena

      Post-Doc (SFB 1315, PIs Finke/Ploner)

      After studying medicine and working as a doctor in the department of Neurology, Deetje started working in the SFB 1315 in January 2019. For her doctoral thesis, she examined how lifestyle-interventions modulate hippocampal neurogenesis and spatial memory in mice. Now she is working on human spatial memory consolidation in VR- and real-life-settings.

        Darko Komnenić

        PhD student

        After studying psychology in Belgrade, Darko attended the master’s program at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain, writing his thesis in our lab. His thesis was on the relationship between depression and changes in the structure and function of hippocampus in patients suffering from neuromyelitis optica. His PhD project expands on this, looking at other changes in brains of neuromyelitis optica patients, with a particular focus on comparing patients with different antibody profiles.

        Stephan Krohn


        Stephan studied medicine (Berlin, Málaga, Montevideo) and cognitive neuroscience (Berlin, Jaén) and joined the lab in 2018. He is particularly interested in computational methods to improve the understanding of brain disorders. His projects explore cognitive assessment with immersive Virtual Reality and investigate brain topology and functional dynamics in MRI by combining approaches from information theory, network science, and complexity analysis.

        Joseph Kuchling


        After studying at Medical School -­ Charité University Medicine Berlin,  and  completing  doctoral  studies  on  ultrahigh-­field  MRI  in multiple  sclerosis,  Joseph  joined  the  lab  with  an  eager  interest  in the application of diffusion tensor imaging and advanced MRI techniques  in  neuroinflammatory  diseases.

          Leonie Maier

          Research assistant & PhD student

          Leonie is a medical student at Charité Berlin and joined our lab in 2019 as a Research Assistant. She is involved in different projects of the lab as she is coordinating, recruiting and testing participants for our neuroimaging studies. She is interested in exploring new methods of understanding human brain functions and works with Virtual Reality Tasks for her dissertation.

          Patrizia Maier

          PhD student (SFB 1315, PIs Finke/Ploner)

          Patrizia studied Psychology in Freiburg, Copenhagen and Berlin. She uses 3D navigation tasks to investigate the temporal dynamics of spatial learning and memory consolidation in neurological patients (behaviorally) and healthy subjects (fMRI). She started working in the SFB 1315 “Memory Consolidation” in October 2018.

          Maron Mantwill

          PhD student

          Maron studied Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience in Jena, Warwick and Berlin. He joined the lab in 2016 and is interested in single-subject connectivity analysis, resting-state functional connectivity and machine-learning based prediction in neurological diseases.

          Greta Melega

          Post-Doc (SFB 1315, PIs Finke/Ploner)

          After studying psychology and neuroscience at the University of Bologna (Italy), Greta completed her doctoral studies at the University of East Anglia (UK) working on declarative memory changes in ageing using behavioural and neuroimaging techniques (EEG and fMRI). Now she joined the SFB 1315 group to work on spatial memory consolidation in neurological patients and healthy control by combining VR, behavioural and EEG techniques.

          Lydia Möws

          Research Assistant and Doctoral Candidate

          Lydia is a medical student at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and joined the lab in August 2022 for her doctoral project. Her focus is the interface between neurology and oncology, which she explores by performing neuropsychological testings with patients before and after having received CAR-T-cell therapy.

          Sophia Rekers

          PhD student

          Sophia studied psychology in Berlin and does her PhD at the Berlin School of Mind. Her interests are neuropsychology and clinical and cognitive neuroscience. Currently, she researches how virtual environments and mixed reality can be used to study, diagnose, and treat spatial navigation impairment in acquired brain injury.

          Amy Romanello

          PhD student

          Amy holds degrees in Behavioral Neuroscience (BSc) and Medical Neuroscience (MSc). She joined the lab in 2019 and currently investigates functional connectivity in multiple sclerosis and methodological approaches to assess brain signal complexity. Amy is interested in using computational methods to study altered network dynamics and states of consciousness in patients with neuropsychiatric disease and pharmacologically-induced models.

          Lars Schlenker

          PhD student

          Lars studied Psychology (Enschede, Budapest) and Cognitive Neuropsychology (Amsterdam) and joined the Lab for his PhD in October 2021. He investigates the neural bases of cognitive dysfunction in patients with post-COVID syndrome, with a particular focus on white matter integrity and tractography analyses. Currently, he is involved in a study on the longitudinal neuropsychological and MRI changes in post-COVID patients.

          Katia Schwichtenberg

          Medical student

          Katia is a medical student at Charité University Berlin and joined the lab in December 2020. She is currently working on her medical doctoral project investigating long-term cognitive outcomes in patients after Sars-CoV-2 infection via neuropsychological testing and magnetic resonance imaging.

          Katharina Wurdack

          Post-Doc, SFB1315 (PIs Ploner/Finke)

          With a background in clinical neurology and diffusion tensor MRI analyses, Katharina investigates imaging markers of cognitive change in neuroinflammatory diseases. Her special interest lies in combining different MRI modalities, notably diffusion tensor imaging and quantitative MRI. She studied medicine at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Université de Bordeaux and joined the lab in 2022.

          Selina Yogeshwar

          PhD student

          Selina studied Neuroscience at University College London and joined the lab for her PhD in 2020. Her research predominantly focuses on the pathophysiology of anti-IgLON5 disease, studying how functional autoimmunity is genetically predisposed and mediated, as well as how the brains of patients pathologically change over the course of this disease.

          Wei Zhao

          Medical PhD student

          Wei completed his masters degree in Neurology at Anhui Medical University (China). He joined the lab in December 2020. His research interests lie in using multiple neuroimaging techniques to explore pathophysiological mechanisms of nervous system diseases. His current doctoral projects focus on fractal dimension and quantitative multi-parameter mapping.


          Graham Cooper

          Graham studied Psychology and Neuropsychology at the Universities of Bath and Edinburgh. He joined the lab in October 2017 and his PhD research project involved applying quantitative magnetic resonance imaging techniques to improve diagnosis and better understand pathological processes in multiple sclerosis.

          Hariharan Hallock

          Harry completed his PhD at the University of Sydney in 2017. He joined the lab soon after, continuing his research on cognitive interventions, specifically developing and testing remote cognitive assessments and training for MS and concussion. In 2020 Harry joined DNV GL in Oslo and is exploring the need for governance for AI in healthcare.

          Josephine Heine

          Josephines research focus within the lab lay in tracing the neuronal signatures of memory deficits using structural and functional connectivity MRI. Her research focused on neuroimmunological diseases, such as autoimmune encephalitis and multiple sclerosis. Beyond that, she explored ultra-high field MR imaging (7T), metamemory, and health-related quality of life in neurological disorders. Josephine holds degrees in neuroscience (MSc, Freie Universitt zu Berlin) and psychology (BSc, Humboldt-Universitt zu Berlin & University of California, San Diego).

          Sara Eileen Holm

          Sara investigated acquired musical anhedonia after focal brain damage with Prof. Christoph Ploner and Prof. Alexander Schmidt as a PhD student. Beforehand she obtained a master’s degree in Systematic Musicology with focus on Neuromusicology at the University of Hamburg. Sara performed cognitive assessments in MS patients in cooperation with the NeuroCure Clinical Research Center and also worked on the GENERATE database, a platform that bundles information on different forms of autoimmune encephalitis.

          Pia Klabunn

          Pia joined our lab from May 2021 until May 2023 as Research Assistant while completing her master’s in psychology at Humboldt University Berlin. She is interested in psychiatric covariates of cognitive decline as well as functional and structural MRI. Pia now follows a PhD program at RWTH Aachen.

          Amit Lampit

          Amit is a clinical neuroscientist (PhD Sydney 2014) and completed part of his post-doc time in our lab. He specialises in clinical trials of cognitive training across the lifespan, development of cognitive intervention technologies and research synthesis. He also holds a CR Roper senior research fellow position at University of Melbourne and co-lead the CITE Group at the Academic Unit for Psychiatry of Old Age.

          Anna Pajkert

          Anna studied psychology at HU Berlin and UAM Poznan (Poland). She joined the lab in February 2016 and completed her PhD in summer 2020. Her research focused on human memory and plasticity processes.

          Nina von Schwanenflug

          Nina studied Psychology and Neuroscience at the universities of Saarbrcken and Dresden. For her dissertation, she applied time-resolved functional connectivity analysis to explore the temporal variability of large-scale brain network activity in autoimmune encephalitis and multiple sclerosis. She completed her PhD in 2022.