Please close your eyes for a moment and think about your research project. What do you see at first?
I see the dendrites of cortical neurons fluoresce in lovely green color as they receive input from the basal ganglia in a behaving mouse. This fluorescence change will show me how the basal ganglia influences cortical processing.
What would your research project look like if it was a piece of art?
It would be a video installation in the ‘Hamburger Bahnhof’. Multiple screens arranged loosely in the shape of a brain would show flickering green fluorescent activity with hard to discern patterns flowing between the screen. There would be a reaction to the observers' presence in the flickering.
Please give your research project a suitable fantasy name!
To your opinion, what are the three most meaningful inventions of mankind?
Cooking, metalwork, computers
With whom would you like to exchange your workplace for one day, and what would you do then?
President Trump. Give NSF a much bigger budget.
Is there any particular object, which accompanies you in your daily life?
I have a big (four meters) model glider hanging from the ceiling in my home.
Any rather unusual hobbies you might want to share?
I fly gliders (Segelflugzeug) competitively. I own a “Discus 2B“ 15 meteres standard class glider. I wish to become US champion in standard class one year. There are not too many competitive glider pilots in the US, so this is not completely hopeless. Soaring is a hobby that is fascinating and beautiful, but also requires a lot of skill and attention.
Is there a place in Berlin that links to the work of your research project?
Actually, places relating to my work are all distributed parallel networks, just like the brain. My Berlin research lab is at the Charité, the Bernstein Center is the intellectual home, and faculty at HU, FU, and TU are doing related work of great interest to me.
What is the most favourite word you ever heard in Berlin? And what does it mean?
Kietz. A neighborhood with special local flavor. Berlin has a bunch of them.
Which place in Berlin do you like the most, and why?
The East Side Gallery wall art. I find the art pieces on the wall inspiring. So many aspirations coming from this past!