We are interested in the cellular and circuit mechanisms of higher cognitive functions



We are part of the DEPARTMENT OF NEUROSURGERY at the Technical University of Munich (TUM)


Welcome to the Translational NeuroCognition Laboratory!


In the Jacob lab, we study complex cognitive functions at the level of individual neurons and their networks. Intelligent, goal-directed behavior is produced by the interaction of populations of neurons in the cognitive brain centers such as the prefrontal cortex, the parietal cortex and the basal ganglia. We are particularly interested in how subcortical neuromodulators such as dopamine regulate these circuits and control how we subjectively experience our sensory environment, memorize behaviorally relevant information and make appropriate decisions.


We investigate the mechanisms of cognition in animal models and humans. To study individual brain functions, we design and train controlled behavioral tasks. We then combine multiple state-of-the-art techniques in mice, including large-scale extracellular recordings, optogenetic manipulation of defined cell types and networks, fluorescent imaging and computational analysis. In a unique translational approach, we also record from single neurons in human neurosurgical patients.


Cognitive functions are impaired in many neuropsychiatric disorders. Very little is known about the neuronal mechanisms. Our long-term goal is to contribute to a better understanding of the cellular basis of mental diseases.


Dr Simon Jacob, MD

Principal investigator

Simon studied medicine at the University of Freiburg and Heidelberg (Germany), at University College London (UK) and Harvard University (USA). He completed his dissertation on neuronal calcium signals at Yale University (USA) as a fellow of the German National Academic Foundation. Simon was a postdoc at the Center for Integrative Neuroscience in Tübingen in the laboratory of Andreas Nieder working on the neuronal mechanisms of executive brain functions. He completed his neurology residency in Tübingen and at the Charité in Berlin (Germany).

simon.jacob (at)

Ajit Ranganath

graduate student

Ajit trained as an engineer in Biotechnology in Bangalore, India. He then moved to Boston to pursue a Master's degree in Neuroscience at Brandeis University. Then, he worked as a research assistant in Dr Joseph Cheer's lab at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. Ajit is currently working on prefrontal mechanisms of higher cognition in the Jacob Lab. While not in the lab, he likes to explore the Alps and play the Sitar, an Indian string instrument.


ajit.ranganath (at)

Daniel Hähnke

graduate student

Daniel studied biology at the University of Freiburg and the University of Manchester. He is interested in how the thalamus is involved in cognitive functions.


daniel.haehnke (at)

Tobias Bernklau

graduate student

Tobias studied psychology at Free University Berlin and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He joined the lab after a preparatory year at the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences in Munich. He is interested in the neural mechanisms of cognition and the neurobiology of mental health and disease. Tobias is also a violinist and a bass guitar player.


tobias.bernklau (at)

Viktor Eisenkolb

medical student

Viktor is a medical student at Klinikum Rechts der Isar in Munich. He is working on transferring results about the coding of working memory from previous primate research to a human model. In his free time, he is part of a local swimming squad.


v.eisenkolb (at)

Leonie Mehrke

GRADUATE student

Leonie studied Molecular Biosciences/Neuroscience at the University of Heidelberg and gained working experience in several areas of neuroscience at the Central Institute of Mental Health (Mannheim), Mayo Clinic (FL, USA), Boehringer Ingelheim and the University of Cambridge (UK), where she conducted her master's thesis. Her research interests lie in the mechanisms and circuits of higher brain functions, which are altered in neuropsychiatric disorders.


leonie.mehrke (at)

Xiaoxiong Lin

GRADUATE student

Xiaoxiong studied psychology and art at Peking University, Beijing, China. He joined the lab after a preparatory year at the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences in Munich and some mind wandering in neurophilosophy. Using computational methods, he investigates how networks of neurons give rise to higher cognitive functions.


lin.xiaoxiong (at)

Stephen Guion

master student

Stephen studied Psychophysiology and Cognitive Neuroscience at George Mason University in Virginia, USA. He is currently pursuing his M.Sc. degree at the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences in Munich. His research interests involve technique development and optimization for exploring complex biological systems. In his free time, Stephen enjoys long distance running and spending his Sundays mentally time traveling in art museums.


stephen.guion (at)



October 2018:

Vanessa Page (Elite Master Program in Neuroengineering) joined the laboratory as a research assistant. Welcome!


September 2018:



September 2018:

Nicolas Berberich (Elite Master Program in Neuroengineering) joined the laboratory for an internship. Welcome!


August 2018:



July 2018:



April 2018:



April 2018:

The lab moved to the Department of Neurosurgery at TUM!


November 2017:



July 2017:



October 2016:



October 2016:

New website launched!


October 2016:




October 2015:

Ajit received a scholarship from the TUM School of Medicine for academic excellence!


September 2015:



June 2015:



April 2015:



April 2015:

The Translational NeuroCognition Laboratory is open for business!

Ajit joined the laboratory. Welcome!

Simon was awarded a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant!

Daniel joined the laboratory. Welcome!

New review published in The Neuroscientist!

New paper published in Nature Communications!

Tobias joined the laboratory. Welcome!

Viktor joined the laboratory. Welcome!

Leonie joined the laboratory. Welcome!

Xiaoxiong joined the laboratory. Welcome!

Stephen joined the laboratory. Welcome!

New review published in Frontiers in Neural Circuits!

New paper published in Neuron!



Winter term:


Human Brain Imaging in Neuropsychiatric Disorders, TUM PhD Program Medical Life Sciences and Technology


Summer term:

Basic Electronics and Techniques in Neurophysiology, TUM PhD Program Medical Life Sciences and Technology

Translational Approaches to Neuropsychiatric Disorders, TUM PhD Program Medical Life Sciences and Technology

Experimental Techniques in Modern Neuropsychiatry, LMU Master Program Neuro-Cognitive Psychology

Principles of Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology, TUM Elite Master Program in Neuroengineering


Dr. Simon Jacob

Principal Investigator


Technical University of Munich

Department of Neurosurgery

Translational NeuroCognition Laboratory


Ismaninger Strasse 22

81675 Munich, Germany


Tel. +49 89 4140 7636

Fax +49 89 4140 4889


simon.jacob (at)