I was born in Würzburg on February 23rd 1971 as the first son of a German father and a Swedish mother. I grew up bilingually


After 4 years of elementary school I started at the Wirsberg-Gymnasium Würzburg in 1981. During 1987-89 I participated in two partnership programs: one with Apollo-Ridge High School Spring Church / Pennsylvania (USA) and one with our partner-school Lycée Joffre in Montpellier, France. I passed the “Abitur” at the Wirsberg-Gymnasium Würzburg in 1990. My compulsory one-year-project (Facharbeit) was about the ultimate and proximate causations of homing behavior in salmon. (PDF in German)

Undergraduate studies

After I was forced to waste a year in the German army, I finally started studying biology at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburgin November 1991. I was able to gather some research experience in my undergraduate projects:

Graduate Studies

I graduated from Biology in 1996 and until the end of March 2000 I continued research about learning and memory in Drosophila at the Department of Genetics at the Biocenter in Würzburg.

From august 24th to September 1st 1997 I participated in the Social Science Research Council workshop “Behavioral Organization in Animals“, held at Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California (Davis) and funded by the German-American Academic Council. You can have a look at our program.

11-13 September 1998: Together with Roman Ernst, Stefan Just and Christoph Kleineidam I participated in organizing a workshop for PhD students in neurobiology held in the Biocenter Würzburg: “9. Neurobiologischer Doktoranden Workshop“. Besides minor short-term organizational chores, my responsibility was to take care of registration and information by constructing a website with online registration capabilities. I did so by modifying a guestbook cgi-script to meet our requirements. I also collected the submitted abstracts to produce the “program & abstracts” booklet, which is available for download in PDF-format.

From August 16 to 29 1999 I participated in the advanced course “Mouse Transgenics and Behavior” sponsored by EMBO and FENS, held at the Centre for Neuroscience in Edinburgh, Scotland. The course’s website was compiled from course material and designed by me.

I completed my PhD thesis (PDF/HTML) on January 17, 2000 and defended it on March 22, 2000.

Postdoctoral Training

From April 2000 to November 2003 I worked as a PostDoc in John Byrne’s lab in Houston, Texas (USA). I studied the operant vs. classical conditioning dichotomy in Aplysia using electrophysiology and neuronal net computation (see the learning and memory section on my website).

On April 5, 2000 I accepted an invitation by Academic Press to write an article about ‘Hamilton’s theory’ for their Encyclopedia of Genetics.

May 4, 2001: I was asked by the Fernuniversität Hagen (Germany) to contribute the Learning and Memory section of my website to an educational CD for their introductory psychology course.

September 14, 2001: The German science foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) has awarded me the Emmy-Noether fellowship.

May 9, 2002: I accepted the offer by the new journal ‘Evolutionary Psychology‘ to join their editorial board.

February, 2003: I accepted two invitations for reviews on operant conditioning, one from “Current Directions in Psychological Science’ and one from ‘Current Opinion in Neurobiology’.

Independent researcher (junior faculty)

In November/December 2003 I moved to Berlin to work independently at the Institute for Neurobiology at the Freie Universität Berlin.

On March 18th, 2004 the DFG awarded me my own Drosophila lab and funding for three years.

19/07/2004-23/07/2004 Invited discussant at the Novartis Foundation Symposium No.268 on “Molecular Mechanisms Influencing Aggressive Behaviours“. The proceedings of the symposium have been published in this book.

On December 10th, 2005 the DFG awarded me a 2-year research grant on “The neural basis of operant conditioning in Aplysia“.

17/09/2006-22/09/2006: Invited speaker for the XIII Summer School organized by the Nicolàs Cabrera Institute in Madrid, Spain. I talked about “Brains as Output/Input Devices” and “Operant conditioning in Aplysia“. The school was held at the “Residencia La Cristalera” in Miraflores de la Sierra and the topic of this year’s school was “Biophysics of Biological Circuits: from Molecules to Networks”.

November 20, 2006: I accepted an offer by PLoS ONE to join their editorial board as academic editor.

12/07/2008-16/07/2008: Organizer Symposium “The neurobiology of choice and decision-making”, FENS Forum 2008, Geneva, Switzerland

June 25, 2008: I accepted the offer by the Journal of Visualized Experiments to join their editorial board as associate editor.

September 19, 2008: I accepted the offer by Frontiers in Neuroscience to join their editorial board as review editor.

September, 2008-January, 2009: Scientific Advisor for the theater play “Wild Werden – ein Notstand” (UA; Burmester/Nolte) Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Germany

January 16/17, 2009: Session organizer: “Open Access publishing: present and future” and “Reputation, authority and incentives. Or: How to get rid of the Impact Factor” ScienceOnline ’09, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA

Heisenberg Fellow (DFG)

In April, 2009 I was awarded a Heisenberg Fellowship by the DFG to continue and expand my research at the Institute for Neurobiology at the Freie Universität Berlin.

April 30, 2009: Session organizer: “Spontaneous behaviors and evoked responses: two sides of the same coin?”, 19th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neural Control of Movement, Waikoloa, Hawaii, USA

June 2009: Offered with the opportunity to join the Faculty of 1000 as an Associate Faculty Member, I of course accepted.

In September 2009 I was invited to join a delegation of the DFG to Japan on the occasion of the opening of their Tokio office.

April 2010: I accepted the offer to become Associate Editor for Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience

May 2010: I was honored to be promoted to Faculty Member at the Faculty of 1000

July 2010: Our proposal for a DFG Research Unit “Biogenic Amines in Insects” was funded.

Adjunct Professor of Genetics at University of Leipzig

In April 2012 I started as an adjunct professor replacing my good friend Bertram Gerber in Leipzig. I mostly taught two genetics courses and commuted there from Berlin for two days out of the week until September 2012.

Professor University of Regensburg

In October 2012 I became Professor of Neurogenetics in the Institute of Zoology at Regensburg University. This is a tenured position.