Prof. Dr. Nikos Logothetis

Prof. Dr. Nikos Logothetis

Director
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes
+49 7071 601 651
+49 7071 601 652
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Main Focus

Research in this laboratory concentrates on the neural mechanisms of perception and object recognition. Although our basic research revolves around vision, a number of independent collaborators are also investigating the relationship between neural activity and perception using other sensory modalities. I firmly believe that such scientific questions require a multimodal methodological approach that integrates information obtained from single units with that derived from mass action potentials as well as from a number of activity-related, surrogate signals such as those monitored during noninvasive experiments. Parallel to our ongoing research, therefore, we are also working to develop methodologies that will permit us to study neural networks in the context of behavioral paradigms. We have already designed and implemented two high-field magnetic resonance imaging systems for functional, anatomical and spectroscopic imaging. The systems are endowed with all the necessary hard- and software to conduct simultaneous imaging and recordings, and they are being used to study the function, connectivity, and neurochemistry of the non-human primate brain. Furthermore, while continuing to exploit traditional neuroimaging in our experiments, we are also investigating the relationship of neural activity to the MR-measurable hemodynamic responses and experimenting with methods that do not rely on hemodynamic responses at all. In the context of the last-named project, a group of synthetic and coordination chemists in my laboratory are attempting to synthesize and evaluate MR-detectable smart probes that change magnetic properties as a function of the concentration of ions and molecules involved in neural signaling. Smart contrast agents, if designed and tested appropriately, promise to revolutionize invasive neuroimaging and would represent a quantum leap forward in signal-to-noise ratio, spatial detail and specificity, while affording unprecedented temporal resolution.

Research fields in my department are:

Curriculum Vitae

Nikos K. Logothetis is director of the department “Physiology of Cognitive Processes” at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (MPIK), in Tübingen, Germany. He received a B.S. in mathematics from the University of Athens, a B.S. in biology from the University of Thessaloniki, and his Ph.D. in human neurobiology from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. In 1985 he moved to the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department of M.I.T., where he initially worked as a postdoctoral fellow and later as Research Scientist. In 1990 he joined the faculty of the Division of Neuroscience at the Baylor College of Medicine. Seven years later he moved to the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics to continue his work on the physiological mechanisms underlying visual perception and object recognition.

In addition to visual cognition, his work at MPIC includes auditory perception and multisensory integration, as well as studies of plasticity and neuromodulation. Parallel to this ongoing research, a number of methods have been developed that permit the study of neural networks in the context of behavioral paradigms. Two high-field magnetic resonance imaging systems were designed and implemented for functional, anatomical and spectroscopic imaging. They permit simultaneous imaging and intracortical recordings and are being used to study the function, connectivity, and neurochemistry of the non-human primate brain, as well as the relationship of neural activity to the MR-measurable hemodynamic responses. Last but not least a group of synthetic and coordination chemists at MPIC are attempting to synthesize and evaluate MR-detectable smart probes that change magnetic properties as a function of the concentration of ions and molecules involved in neural signaling.

Since 1992 Nikos K. Logothetis has been Adjunct Professor of Neurobiology at the Salk Institute in San Diego, since 1995 Adjunct Professor of Ophthalmology at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Associate of the Neurosciences Institute, San Diego, Senior Visiting Fellow in University College, London, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems and of Cognitive and Neural Systems in the College of Arts and Sciences, both at the Boston University, Massachusetts, a  faculty member at the Victoria University of Manchester (VUM) in England, and Honorary Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Tübingen.

Nikos K. Logothetis has been or continues to be a member of the Advisory Boards of McGovern Institute, M.I.T.; Brain and Cognitive Sciences, M.I.T., USA; POSIT Science Corporation, San Francisco, USA; IGPS, Freiburg, Germany; Centre of Excellence in Systems Neuroscience of the Academy of Finland, Helsinki, Finland; Brain Imaging Center, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; ICM-ADREC, Paris, France; Brain Center of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, and in the Advisory Board of the Brain Research Center of the Weizmann Institute, Jerusalem, Israel.  He served as Receiving Editor for the European Journal of Neuroscience (EJN), Associate Editor for Trends in Cognitive Sciences (TICS), Neuron, Current Biology, Current Opinion Neurobiology, and is a regular reviewer for Nature, Nature Neuroscience, J Neuroscience, PNAS, Cerebral Cortex, Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, Journal of Neurophysiology, Experimental Brain Research, and Vision Research. He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, European Neuroscience Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, New York Academy of Sciences, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, American Mathematical Society, International Neuropsychological Society, and Mathematical Association of America.

Nikos K. Logothetis is member of the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina, of the Rodin Remediation Academy, Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. He is recipient of the DeBakey Award for Excellence in Science, the Golden Brain Award of the Minerva Foundation, the 2003 Louis-Jeantet Prize of Medicine, the 2004 Zülch-Price for Neuroscience, the 2007 IPSEN Prize for Neuronal Plasticity, and the 2008 Alden Spencer Award of Columbia University, New York.

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