Dr. Steffen Stoewer

Address: Spemannstr. 38
72076 Tübingen


Picture of Stoewer, Steffen, Dr.

Steffen Stoewer

Position: Collaborator  Unit: Alumni Logothetis

I'm using 7T fMRI of the awake behaving macaque to investigate executive function in the non-human primate brain. More specifically, I am interested in the Multiple Demand Network (MD).

I'm also working on methodological issues of awake high-field fMRI. Algorithms and functions I have developed have been integrated into fMRI Sandbox (FSB), an interactive Matlab toolbox for the analysis of awake NHP fMRI data.

To download fMRI Sandbox (FSB), please click here. Newer versions are available from Google code (

Investigation of the Multiple Demand Network (MD) with high-field fMRI


Steffen Stoewer (MPI Dept. Logothetis), Natasha Sigala (University of Sussex, UK), John Duncan (MRC-CBU Cambridge, UK), Nikos Logothetis



A network of prefrontal, parietal and subcortical areas has consistently been found to be active in human fMRI studies of higher cognitive functions such as conflict monitoring, working memory, novelty detection or the processing of perceptual difficulties, for instance recognition and analysis of degraded stimuli [1]. It is hypothesized that its function is behavioural control through selective representation of task-relevant information including stimuli, rules, working memory contents etc. A detailed investigation of this network named Multiple Demand (MD) Network is of importance for our insight into the neural basis of many human brain disorders.



The main goal of the project is the investigation of the MD Network  in non-human primates with high-field fMRI.



We tried to elicit MD activation with a passive viewing task adapted to the one used in a human fMRI study [2] where it could be shown that passive viewing of attended stimuli with no active task produced the full pattern of MD activation when stimulus changes occurred.

Secondly, we modified a saccade choice task by introducing perceptual difficulty or a response conflict to allow us to directly compare MD activity for different kinds of cognitive demand.



We could show an activation of key components of the MD network in three primates for the passive viewing task [3]. Scans for the second experiment are ongoing.

The MD network in the NHP brain

Figure legend:

Statistical parametric maps (T-score maps) indicating voxels (colored red to yellow) significantly more active during the stimulation phase than when viewing a blank screen for a group analysis of three animals [3], thresholded at P<.05 (FWE-corrected).

45: Brodmann area 45; 46v: BA 46, ventral subdivision, F5: agranular frontal area F5; 8A: area 8A in arcuate sulcus; MT: middle temporal area; MST: middle superior temporal area; V1: Visual area 1; V2: Visual area 2; LIP: lateral intraparietal are; VIP: ventral intraparietal area; MIP: medial intraparietal area



Our results suggest that visual stimulation alone already activates key components of the MD network. Additional task demands activate additional cortical regions. Our data support the idea of a possible overlap between MD and the dorsal frontoparietal network.



  1. Duncan, J. and Owen A.M.,  Trends Neurosci, 23(10), 475–483 (2000).
  2. Hon, N., Epstein, R.A., Owen, A.M. and J. Duncan, Journal of Neuroscience, 26(38), 9805-9809 (2006)
  3. Stoewer, S, Ku, S.-P., Goense, J, Steudel, T, Logothetis, N.K., Duncan, J, Sigala, N, Magnetic Resonance Imaging 28 1120-1128(2010)




2006 - 2011

PhD student, Max-Planck-Institute for Biological Cybernetics and

Graduate School of Neural and Behavioral Sciences, Tuebingen


Dissertation: fMRI study on selective attention deficits in schizophrenic patients, magna cum laude


Medicine, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, MD


Business administration, University of Augsburg, Dipl.-Kfm.


Social economics, University of Augsburg, Bac. Oec.


High school; München and Marquartstein/Chiemsee, Abitur


Language Skills




French language diploma (DALF)


Working knowledge


Working knowledge



Employment History

April 2006 -

Max-Planck-Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tuebingen : PhD stipendiate

2005 - April 2006

Saarland University Hospital Homburg, Dept. of Psychiatry: Resident

2001 - 2004

Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Dept. of Psychiatry:

Scientific assistant worker, fMRI core group

1994 – 2004

Freelance IT services and consulting: System and network administration, database and website programming, employee training

References per page: Year: Medium:

Show abstracts

Articles (5):

Sailer P, Wieber F, Pröbster K, Stoewer S, Nischk D, Volk F and Odenwald M (September-2015) A brief intervention to improve exercising in patients with schizophrenia: a controlled pilot study with mental contrasting and implementation intentions (MCII) BMC Psychiatry 15(211) 1-12.
Stoewer S, Goense J, Keliris GA, Bartels A, Logothetis NK, Duncan J and Sigala N (January-2012) An Analysis Approach for High-Field fMRI Data from Awake Non-Human Primates PLoS One 7(1) 1-13.
Stoewer S, Goense J, Keliris GA, Bartels A, Logothetis NK, Duncan J and Sigala N (December-2011) Realignment strategies for awake-monkey fMRI data Magnetic Resonance Imaging 29(10) 1390-1400.
Stoewer S, Ku S-P, Goense J, Steudel T, Logothetis NK, Duncan J and Sigala N (October-2010) Frontoparietal activity with minimal decision and control in the awake Macaque at 7T Magnetic Resonance Imaging 28(8) 1120-1128.
Pajonk FG, Stoewer S, Kinn M and Fleiter B (May-2006) Psychopharmakotherapie in der Notfallmedizin Notfall und Rettungsmedizin 9(4) 393-402.

Posters (2):

Stoewer S, Ku S-PP, Goense J, Logothetis NK, Duncan J and Sigala N (October-2009): Frontoparietal activity with minimal decision and control in the awake macaque at 7T, 39th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience 2009), Chicago, IL, USA.
Stoewer S, Duncan J, Bartels A, Keliris GA, Logothetis NK and Sigala N (March-2009): SANDBOX, an interactive fMRI data visualization toolbox, 21st Cambridge Neuroscience Seminar: New Approaches in Neuroscience (CNS 2009), Cambridge, UK.

Theses (1):

Stoewer S: Selektive Aufmerksamkeit als Subkomponente des Continuous Performance Tests im Vergleich zwischen schizophrenen Patienten und Gesunden - eine neuropsychologisch-funktionell-magnetresonanztomographische Untersuchung, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, (May-3-2005). PhD thesis

Talks (1):

Stoewer S, Sigala N and Duncan J (October-2011) Abstract Talk: New approaches for the analysis of awake monkey fMRI data: fMRI Sandbox, 12th Conference of Junior Neuroscientists of Tübingen (NeNA 2011), Heiligkreuztal, Germany 17.

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Last updated: Monday, 22.05.2017