Team

Carsten Finke

Principal Investigator 

Carsten is a Heisenberg Professor and consultant neurologist at the Department of Neurology at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. 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.

    Aylin Ak

    Research Assistant

    Aylin is a medical student at Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin and joined the lab in 2023 as a research assistant. She is involved in recruiting patients and planning follow-up visits for the autoimmunencephalitis cohort. She also assists in acquiring MRI data and clinical data managment.

    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

    Post-Doc

    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.

      Ole Böken

      Post-Doc

      Ole studied psychology (Mag. Rer. Nat.) in Vienna and completed the Middle European Interdisciplinary Master’s Programme in Cognitive Sciences in both Vienna and Ljubljana. For his doctoral thesis at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, he conducted systems-level functional decoding of brain areas, including the thalamus and the intraparietal sulcus. He joined the lab in March 2023 to work on the SAPIENCE project. His primary interests lie in structure-function relationships and connectomics in both healthy and diseased brains.

        Annalisa Bozem

        Research Assistant

        After studying Psychology (BSc) in Maastricht and Surabaya, Annalisa pursued her Master’s in Theory and Research in Psychology (MSc) in Leuven, specializing in clinical neuropsychology. She joined the lab in August 2021, bringing with her a strong interest in the field of longitudinal structural MRI analysis in Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis. Additionally, she has conducted research on the long-term cognitive outcomes of patients following Sars-CoV-2 infection using a combination of neuropsychological testing and MRI scans.

          Guido Cammà

          Research Collaborator

          Guido studied Medicine (MD) in Rome and Porto, and Cognitive Neuroscience (MSc) in Utrecht and Berlin. He joined the Lab in 2023 and focuses on a longitudinal study on Autoimmune Encephalitis, for which he performs analysis of structural MRI and evaluates clinical scores.

            Omar Chishti

            PhD Student

            Omar studied biomedical engineering at Yale (BSc) and is currently a fast-track PhD student at the Max Planck School of Cognition. He has a research background in structural connectivity, brain atlases, language organization, and epilepsy. He joined the lab in September 2023 for his first lab rotation.

              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.

                Nele Hanko

                Research Assistant

                Nele is a psychology student at Freie University Berlin and joined the lab in 2024 as a Research Assistant. She is involved in various research activities, including administering neuropsychological tests and conducting MRI scans, as well as recruiting 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

                  Post-Doc

                  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

                    Post-Doc

                    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

                    Post-Doc

                    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.

                      Joy Sarow

                      Research Assistant

                      After completing her bachelor’s in psychology, Joy is currently enrolled in the Cognitive Science – Embodied Cognition master’s program at University of Potsdam. In November 2023, she joined the Cognitive Neurology Lab as a Research Assistant. Her activities include, inter alia, the administration of neuropsychological tests, conducting VR experiments, recruting of study participants and data management.

                      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.

                      Hannah Tenenbaum

                      Medical Student and Doctoral Candidate

                      Hannah is a medical student at Charité University Berlin and joined the lab in August 2023 as a doctoral candidate. She is interested in clinical and cognitive neuroscience. At the moment she is investiagting long-term cognitive outcomes in patients after autoimmune encephalitis via clinical data and magnetic resonance imaging analysis.

                      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.

                      Alumni

                      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.