Talks & Lectures - 2024

Andreas Nieder (University of Tübingen
The neuronal basis of numerical cognition in humans and nonhuman animals
October 24, 2024, 3 PM, Michael-Lankeit-Lecture Hall, German Primate Center

organised in collaboration with the Leibniz ScienceCampus Primate Cognition
Our understanding of numbers, vital to our scientifically and technically advanced culture, has deep biological roots. Research across developmental psychology, anthropology, and animal cognition suggests that our ability to count symbolically arises from more primitive non-symbolic number representations. By studying single-neuron activity in associative brain areas of awake human patients, monkeys, and crows, we aim to uncover the general principles behind how numbers are represented in the brain. Across all species, we've identified "number neurons" that encode set sizes regardless of how the stimuli are presented. These neurons play a crucial role in processing numerical information during goal-directed behavior, showcasing remarkable similarities in behavioral and neuronal mechanisms across species. Moreover, investigating how numbers are processed in working memory offers insights into high-level cognitive control functions. Comparative research in numerical cognition is uniquely positioned to unravel the brain processes enabling humans to transition from nonsymbolic to symbolic representations, a hallmark of our species.

Michael Gaebler (MPI for Human and Cognitive Brain Sciences)
Heart-brain interactions and their link to (socio-)emotional processing
July 4, 2024, 3 PM, Large Seminar room, Conference Center at the Historical Observatory

Brain-body coupling not only maintains life but also shapes our mental and particularly affective states. I will present a set of studies in which we analyzed heart rate and its variability also in relation to the EEG signal in order to link brain-heart coupling to (socio-)emotional processing.

Julia Van Beesel (KU Leuven)
Adaptations of the Musculoskeletal System in Apes for Arboreal Locomotion: Insights from Computational Musculoskeletal Modeling
May 13, 2024, 12.30 PM, online via zoom (contact Neda Shahidi if you want to join)

Primates are renowned for their adeptness in navigating arboreal environments, which pose unique challenges for locomotion due to complex three-dimensional structures and varying support conditions. This is especially true for the heavy bodied apes as they navigate gaps between trees and maneuver on narrow branches. This talk will delve into the evolutionary adaptations of the musculoskeletal system in apes to facilitate efficient arboreal locomotion. Specifically, the focus will be on musculoskeletal adaptations in the shoulder mechanism, a pivotal area reflecting significant morphological variation among primate species. Leveraging computational musculoskeletal modeling, my research investigates the biomechanical differences in shoulder function among ape species and the implications of interspecies variation on locomotor capacities and functionality. By elucidating these adaptations, I aim to provide deeper insights into the evolutionary drivers that shape primate locomotion.

Takafumi Minamimoto (National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology, Japan
Revolutionizing Primate Neuroscience with Imaging-Guided Chemogenetics 
April 26, 2024, 11 AM, Michael-Lankeit-Lecture Hall, German Primate Center

organised in collaboration with the Leibniz ScienceCampus Primate Cognition
Nonhuman primates (NHPs), especially macaque and marmoset monkeys, are excellent models for elucidating highly organized brain function and behavior. However, the ability to manipulate and study these brains at a network level is currently limited due to the lack of genetic neuromodulation tools available. To bridge this gap, our team has been exploring the use of chemogenetic technology known as Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs) in NHPs. DREADDs provide a means to reversibly and remotely control the activity of a neuronal population expressing designer receptors through delivery of their agonist. By combining DREADDs with PET and MR imaging, we have developed a powerful tool for NHP research that enables the visualization and manipulation of specific brain circuits, and the monitoring of changes in network activity. This technology provides exciting prospects for understanding the link between primate brain circuits and behavior, as well as the development of therapeutic applications. In this talk, I will introduce our pioneering imaging-guided chemogenetic strategies and present new insights into the functions of primate prefronto-subcortical circuits.

Charley Wu (Tübingen)
Visual spatial dynamics drive adapative social learning in immersive environments
March 27, 2024, 12.30 PM, online via zoom (contact Neda Shahidi if you want to join)


Prof. Alexander Gail

Sensorimotor Neuroscience & Neuroprosthetics

University of Göttingen & German Primate Center Göttingen

Kellnerweg 4,

37077 Göttingen

Tel.: +49-551-3851-358

Scientific Coordinator:

Dr. Christian Schloegl

Kellnerweg 4,

37077 Göttingen

Tel.: +49-551-3851-480


Kerstin Renziehausen

Kellnerweg 4,

37077 Göttingen

Tel.: +49-551-3851-246