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.
Watching neurons at work
All wired up
Viktor and Daniel examining data
Ajit planning the next experiment
Tobias after a successful day
In the neurosurgical operating theater
7 - 8
Dr Simon Jacob, MD
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) tum.de
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) tum.de
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) tum.de
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) tum.de
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) tum.de
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) tum.de
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.
temp.xiaoxiong (at) tum.de
Jacob SN, Nienborg H (2018)
Monoaminergic neuromodulation of sensory processing.
Front Neural Circuits, doi: 10.3389/fncir.2018.00051
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
Ranganath A, Jacob SN (2016)
Doping the mind: Dopaminergic regulation of prefrontal cortical cognition.
Ott T, Jacob SN, Nieder A (2014)
Dopamine receptors differentially enhance rule coding in primate prefrontal cortex neurons.
Hage SR, Ott T, Eiselt A-K, 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
Jacob SN, Nieder A (2014)
Complementary roles for primate frontal and parietal cortex in guarding working memory from distractor stimuli.
Jacob SN, Ott T, Nieder A (2013)
Dopamine regulates two classes of primate prefrontal neurons that represent sensory signals.
J Neurosci 33:13724–13734.
Jacob SN, Vallentin D, Nieder A (2012)
Relating magnitudes: the brain's code for proportions.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences 16:157–166
Jacob SN, Nieder A (2009a)
Tuning to non‐symbolic proportions in the human frontoparietal cortex.
European Journal of Neuroscience 30:1432–1442.
Jacob SN, Nieder A (2009b)
Notation-independent representation of fractions in the human parietal cortex.
J Neurosci 29:4652–4657
Jacob SN, Nieder A (2008)
The ABC of cardinal and ordinal number representations.
Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12:41–43
Jacob SN, Choe C-U, Uhlen P, DeGray B, Yeckel MF, Ehrlich BE (2005)
Signaling microdomains regulate inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate-mediated intracellular calcium transients in cultured neurons.
J Neurosci 25:2853–2864
The lab moved to the Department of Neurosurgery at TUM!
New website launched!
Ajit received a scholarship from the TUM School of Medicine for academic excellence!
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!
New review published in Frontiers in Neural Circuits!
Human Brain Imaging in Neuropsychiatric Disorders, TUM PhD Program Medical Life Sciences and Technology
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 Neuroengineering
Dr. Simon Jacob
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) tum.de