Munich, GER
+49 89 4140-7636

What we do


Who we are


What we found


What is new


Who funds us


What we teach

Welcome to the Translational NeuroTechnology Laboratory!

Research and ongoing projects

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 in humans. To study specific 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 and modelling. In a unique translational approach, we also develop and use technologies for recording from individual neurons in human neurosurgical patients.

Cognitive functions are impaired in many neurological and psychiatric 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.


Meet the people who do the work. They can be reached at

Simon Jacob

Principal Investigator

Simon studied medicine in Freiburg and Heidelberg, at University College London and Harvard. He completed his dissertation on neuronal calcium signaling at Yale as a fellow of the German National Academic Foundation. Simon was a postdoc at the Center for Integrative Neuroscience in Tübingen working with Andreas Nieder on the mechanisms of executive brain functions. He is a board-certified neurologist and a professor for Translational Neurotechnology at TUM.

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. Before joining the lab, he worked as a research assistant with Joseph Cheer at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. Ajit is interested in the prefrontal mechanisms of goal-directed behavior. While not in the lab, he likes to explore the Alps and play the Sitar, an Indian string instrument.

Daniel Hähnke

Graduate student

Daniel studied biology at the University of Freiburg and the University of Manchester. He is widely interested in neuroscientific topics including crossregional functional connectivity, machine learning and other advanced data analytical methodologies. His current project focusses on the role of the thalamus in controlling cognitive functions. Daniel is an avid traveller and likes to cook and surf.

Tobias Bernklau

Graduate student

Tobias studied psychology at Free University (FU) 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.

Viktor Eisenkolb

Medical doctoral student

Viktor is a medical student at Klinikum rechts der Isar of TUM. He is working on methods that allow us to transfer findings obtained in awake behaving animals performing cognitive tasks directly to the human system. In his free time, he is part of a local swimming squad.

Leonie Mehrke

Graduate student

Leonie studied Molecular Biosciences/Neuroscience at the University of Heidelberg and worked in neuroscience labs at the Central Institute of Mental Health (Mannheim), Mayo Clinic (Florida), 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.

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.

Victoria Hohendorf

Graduate student

Vicky studied Biomedical Sciences with a focus on Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. She is interested in the relationship between behaviour, neuronal function and 3D brain structure in working memory tasks. In her free time she likes to travel in person as well as through reading books.


A few things we’ve worked out already.

Jacob SN, Hähnke D, Nieder A (2018)

Structuring of Abstract Working Memory Content by Fronto-parietal Synchrony in Primate Cortex.
Neuron 99: 588-597

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Jacob SN, Nienborg H (2018)

Monoaminergic neuromodulation of sensory processing.
Front Neural Circuits, doi: 10.3389/fncir.2018.00051

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Jacob SN, Stalter M, Nieder A (2016)

Cell-type-specific modulation of targets and distractors by dopamine D1 receptors in primate prefrontal cortex.
Nat Commun, doi: 10.1038/ncomms13218

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Ranganath A, Jacob SN (2016)

Doping the mind: Dopaminergic regulation of prefrontal cortical cognition.
Neuroscientist 22(6): 593-603

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Ott T, Jacob SN, Nieder A (2014)

Dopamine receptors differentially enhance rule coding in primate prefrontal cortex neurons.
Neuron 84: 1317–1328

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Hage SR, Ott T, Eiselt AK, Jacob SN, Nieder A (2014)

Ethograms indicate stable well-being during prolonged training phases in rhesus monkeys used in neurophysiological research.
Lab Anim 48: 82–87

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Jacob SN, Nieder A (2014)

Complementary roles for primate frontal and parietal cortex in guarding working memory from distractor stimuli.
Neuron 83: 226–237

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Jacob SN, Ott T, Nieder A (2013)

Dopamine regulates two classes of primate prefrontal neurons that represent sensory signals.
J Neurosci 33: 13724–13734

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Jacob SN, Vallentin D, Nieder A (2012)

Relating magnitudes: the brain’s code for proportions.
Trends Cogn Sci 16: 157–166

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Jacob SN, Nieder A (2009)

Tuning to non‐symbolic proportions in the human frontoparietal cortex.
Eur J Neurosci 30: 1432–1442

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Jacob SN, Nieder A (2009)

Notation-independent representation of fractions in the human parietal cortex.
J Neurosci 29: 4652–4657

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Jacob SN, Nieder A (2008)

The ABC of cardinal and ordinal number representations.
Trends Cogn Sci 12: 41–43

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Read about what’s happening in the lab.


Simon was appointed professor of Translational Neurotechnology at TUM.

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Steamin’ hot at SfN

The lab enjoying traditional Chinese hotpot.

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SfN meeting in Chicago

The lab attended the Society for Neuroscience meeting 2019.

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Welcome Victoria

Victoria joined the lab as PhD student.

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We are grateful to the following funding sources for supporting our work.


We teach neuroscience and neuropsychiatric pathophysiology in various courses.

Principles of Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology

TUM Elite Master Program in Neuroengineering (MSNE). Winter term.

Introduction to higher-order cognitive functioning

TUM Elite Master Program in Biomedical Neuroscience (BMNS). Winter term.

Human Brain Imaging in Neuropsychatric Disorders

TUM PhD Program Medical Life Sciences and Technology. Winter term.

Translational Approaches to Neuropsychiatric Disorders

TUM PhD Program Medical Life Sciences and Technology. Summer term.

Experimental Techniques in Modern Neuropsychiatry

LMU Elite Master Program in NeuroCognitive Psychology. Summer term.

Contact us

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Ismaninger Str. 22, 81675 Munich, Germany


+49 89 4140-7636

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