Institute News

MPINB group leaders have successfully applied for third-party funding

Congratulations to our research group leaders Marcel Oberlaender (In Silico Brain Sciences), James Lightfoot (Genetics of Behavior) and Pascal Malkemper (Neurobiology of Magnetoreception) for their recently approved new research projects:

Marcel Oberlaender is one of 13 researchers in Germany to receive an ERC Proof of Concept Grant from the prestigious European Research Council. This is follow-on funding for previous ERC-awardees to progress from ground-breaking research towards innovation. Artificial "deep learning" neural networks are widely used today, but have the disadvantage of extensive training phases. The aim of ConnectomesToANNs is to create anatomically realistic artificial neural networks from accurate reconstructions of real biological neural networks. The resulting different architectures of artificial neural networks (ANN) will be made publicly available on a platform. The goal is to identify, together with the users, which architectural features are best suited for particular tasks.

James Lightfoot received a grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG). His group studies how cannibalistic worms are able to distinguish their own kin from their prey. With the new grant, another PhD student can start in this group and investigate, which genetic and molecular factors underly the recognition of conspecifics in worms.

Pascal Malkemper received funding from the DFG under the ANR-DFG funding program, an agreement with the DFG's French counterpart. The project, in cooperation with Hervé Cadiou from the University of Strasbourg, focuses on the magnetic sense of planarians (flatworms). It has only recently become known that these animals can navigate using the earth's magnetic field. Thus, they are an excellent model system to study basic mechanisms of magnetoreception. With the planaria, a new fascinating animal species moves in with the MPINB.