G. Rodrigo Sigala Alanis

Alumni Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes

Main Focus

My doctoral studies were focused on investigating the neural correlates of face categorization in human and monkey observers, under the supervision of Prof. Gregor Rainer. In this project we first created a novel set of face stimuli along a continuum between human and monkey faces (morphs). We performed extensive behavioral experiments in both type of observers, recorded extracellular signals in awake monkeys (single units and local field potentials) as well as fMRI activation in human subjects. Additional to conventional analytic techniques, we combined signal processing, machine learning and information theory to read-out information from the recorded signals.

From 2009 to 2011 I was a collaborator in the BION project, which is an effort of the European Union to bring scientists from different universities (Parma and Pisa, Italy and Warwick, UK) and disciplines (physics, material sciences, nano-electronics, chemistry and neuroscience) to develop a new promising technology. The main idea is to use biological cognitive systems as a benchmark and inspiration to fabricate complex material assemblies which can learn, make decisions, analyze information in a highly parallel way.

Currently, I work as a postdoc at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience/Charite Clinic in Berlin, in the independet reasaerch group ‘Brain Modes’ headed by Petra Ritter:


Synthetic pathways to bio-inspired information processing.

This project was carried out at the Universities of Parma and Pisa, in cooperation with the University of Warwick and our group. It aims at the fabrication of a new hardware made of conducting polymers with adaptive properties. The intention is to imitate the cerebral cortex with its statistical connectivity, modifiable by learning processes, and its associative properties. http://www.fp7-bion.eu/

Neural representation of species-dependent face categories in the primate brain.

This project investigates how information about monkeys and human face categories are represented in the human and non-human primate brain.

Curriculum Vitae




PhD on Neural and Behavioral Sciences (2005 - 2011)

Max-Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Dept. Physiology of Cognitive Processes (Nikos Logothetis Lab), Tuebingen, Germany.

M.Sc. on Neural and Behavioral Sciences (2002 - 2004)

Max Planck International Research School and University of Tuebingen

B.Sc. Computer Engineering (with ‘Honors’ and see also‘Awards’ below) 1996- 2002

Mexican Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM)


Postdoc at the Independent Research Group ‘Brain Modes’ (Head: Petra Ritter) (since Feb 2012)

Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Department of Neurology, Charité Berlin, Germany. Ultra-fast EEG-fMRI and EEG-triggered stimulation during EEG-fMRI

Postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tuebingen, Germany (2010-2011)

BION Project: ‘A step towards the synthetic brain’ In collaboration with the Universities of Parma, Pisa, Italy as well as the University of Warwick in the UK.


Internship, Justin Gardner’s Lab, Brain Sciences institute, RIKEN, Tokyo, Japan (2010)

Investigating attention effects on the visual cortex. Psychophysic experiments and high resolution FMRI in human subjects.

Internship, Center for Biological and Computational Learning (CBCL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Massachusetts, US  (2004)

Investigating learning mechanisms in a hierarchical feedforward model of the primate cortex for object and motion recognition (Master Thesis)


BSI-RIKEN Summer School and Internship Program (Mind and Intelligence Research Core) (July – August 2010)

Telluride, Colorado, US. Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop (Institute of Neuromorphic Engineering) (July 2008)


Experimental design, presentation skills, team work, analysis of brain signals (electrophysiological and BOLD), 3D Morphing Techniques, signal processing, machine learning (Pattern recognition). Software: C++, C, Matlab, 3D Studio Max.


2002 Best undergraduate student in the Computer Engineering Faculty-ITAM (considering whole studies and final thesis) by the National (Mexican) Association of Engineering Schools and Faculties (Asociación Nacional de Escuelas y Facultades de Ingeniería, ANEFI).

03/2002-9/2002 DAAD german language course scholarship (Universität Leipzig Herder-Institut)

2002-2004 Max Planck Society Scholarship for undergraduate students.

Selected travel grants: BSI-RIKEN Summer School Program (2010), Tokyo, Japan; European Future Technologies (FET 2009), Prague, Czech Republic; Frontiers on Neuroinformatics Conference (2008), Stockholm, Sweden; Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop (2008), Telluride, US; International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks (ICANN 2005) by the European Neural Networks Society.

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