we are hiring!

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



We are part of the Institute of Neuroscience 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 joined the lab in June 2015. He studied biology at the University of Freiburg and University of Manchester. Daniel 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 in October 2016 after a preparatory year at the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences at LMU Munich, where he started as a fast-track PhD student in 2015. 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, a fourth-year medical student at Klinikum Rechts der Isar in Munich, joined the lab in 2016. 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)



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 paper 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!



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 Neuroengineering


We have openings for interested PhD candidates and Postdoctoral fellows. Click here for more information.

Dr. Simon Jacob

Principal Investigator


Technical University of Munich

Institute of Neuroscience

Translational NeuroCognition Laboratory


Biedersteiner Strasse 29

80802 Munich, Germany


Tel. +49 89 4140 3022

Fax +49 89 4140 3352


simon.jacob (at)