Current PhD Students

Mohamed Ameen obtained his bachelors degree in Pharmacy from Cairo University, Egypt in 2013, then moved to France in 2014 where I obtained his masters degree in Neuroscience from Strasbourg University in 2016. He did his Master thesis project at the Consciousness and Congition Lab in Cambridge University, UK in 2016, then joined the Laboratory for Sleep, Consciousnss and Cognition in Salzburg in 2017. His main research interest is information processing during altered states of consciousness, with a focus on sleep & EEG. Under the supervision of Dr. Kerstin Hödlmoser, he will be investigating the role of the hippocampus as well as hippocampal-dependant sleep-associated memory consolidation in Motor adaptation (fMRI&EEG). He will also investigate the ability of the sleeping brain to generate predictions and their influence on memory performance in wakefulness (M/EEG).
Email: mohamed.ameen[at]
Sarah Danböck completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at LMU Munich. Before joining the DK, she worked as research assistant at the Division of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Treatment (Prof. Thomas Ehring) at the LMU and investigated the role of sleep in the development and maintenance of psychiatric disorders (depression, PTSD) and the effects of imagery rescripting on declarative and emotional memory. For her PhD, supervised by Prof. Frank Wilhelm in the Clinical Stress and Emotion Lab, she will explore factors contributing to the development and maintenance of PTSD using peripheral physiological and behavioural measures in addition to neuroimaging methods.
Email: sarahkatharina.danboeck[at]
Monique Denissen finished her bachelor in Psychology in 2013 at the KU Leuven. After this she did a research master in cognitive neuroscience at Maastricht University. For her master thesis she looked into the population receptive fields of the visual word form area. For the DK she will be supervised by Prof. Florian Hutzler, focusing on developing methods that will enable the correct use of reverse inference in fMRI.
Email: monique.denissen[at]
Katharina Eichin studied Psychology at the Universities of Landau (Germany), Leuven (Belgium) and Padova (Italy). During her Master’s studies she was involved in a project in chronic pain research, using EEG, and a project on visual learning, using fMRI. For her PhD at the Eating Behavior Laboratory (Prof. Jens Blechert) she focusses on cue reactivity to food in eating disorder patients and healthy controls, working with EEG and mouse tracking.
Email: katharinanaomi.eichin[at]
Cristina Florea obtained her medical degree at the University for Medicine and Pharmacy in iasi, Romania, and worked as a resident in Neurology at the Christian Doppler Klinik in Salzburg. She joined the DK in March 2020 and she will work under the supervision of Prof. Manuel Schabus. Her PhD focus will be the neurophysiological assessment prenatal learning and speech processing in neonates and infants by hdEEG.
Email: cristina.florea[at]
Vittoria Franchina graduated in Clinical Psychology at the University of Palermo (Italy). During her master degree, she spent 6 months at the University of Essex (UK) and 5 months at Tilburg University (Netherlands) working as a research assistant. She worked as a research assistant for another year at the University of Palermo, after graduating. During the doctoral studies she is going to research on existential threats and defence.
Email: vittoria.franchina[at]
Daniel Freinhofer studied Psychology at the University of Salzburg and received his master’s degree in October of 2017. For his master thesis he investigated differences in emotion processing between word and face stimuli with fMRI. He stayed in Salzburg and started working in a research project investigating decision making processes as well as decision making deficits in gambling patients. In the doctoral programme “Imaging the Mind” Daniel is supervised by Dr. Martin Kronbichler and focuses on computational modelling of behavior and brain activation during decision making and social cognition.
Email: daniel.freinhofer[at]
Quirin Gehmacher studied psychology at the University of Salzburg and obtained his MSc with the specialization in “cognitive neuroscience” in 2019. He joined the DK in August 2019 under the Supervision of Prof. Nathan Weisz with general research interest in auditory (regularity) processing. His main focus in the DK is auditory perception in challenging listening situations in cochlear implant recipients.
Email: quirin.gehmacher[at]
Tobias Hausinger completed his master’s degree with a specialization in “Cognitive Neuroscience” at the University of Salzburg and joined the DK in 2021 under the supervision of Prof. Belinda Pletzer. His PhD-Thesis will focus on sex- and cycle-dependent differences in hemispheric asymmetries during various domains of visuospatial processing.
Email: tobias.hausinger[at]
Christopher Höhn studied Psychology at the University of Salzburg and is going to complete his master’s degree with the specialisation in cognitive neuroscience during the summer of 2020. In his master thesis he investigates potential adverse effects of smartphone usage during the night on cognitive performance, subsequent sleep patterns and memory consolidation. He will join the DK in October 2020 and is currently working as a research assistant and is tutoring for statistics classes in the bachelor’s and master’s program. During his PhD he is going to further investigate the effects of electronic media usage during the late evening with a special interest in using EEG-methods to assess brain activity changes during wakefulness and sleep.
Email: christopher.hoehn[at]
Chiara Jutzi studied psychology at the University of Salzburg and graduated in 2019. During her Bachelor and Master studies she was a visiting student at Universidad de Granada, University College London and worked for the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Germany to the United Nations in New York. In October 2019 she joined the doctoral college under supervision of Prof. Eva Jonas. Her research focusses on the neural correlates of conflicts and threats. In particular she is interested in the experience of societal challenges and conflicts. Currently, she explores the implications of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for threat research.
Email: chiara.jutzi[at]
Sercan Kahveci obtained his BSc in Brain & Cognition at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in 2015, followed by a MSc in 2016. Following this, he completed the Research master in Clinical Psychology at the University of Amsterdam in 2018. Supervised by Jens Blechert, he explores the properties and applications of the Approach-Avoidance task within the context of healthy and pathological eating behavior.
Email: sercan.kahveci[at]
Anna Krämer studied psychology at the University of Salzburg and completed her master’s degree in 2018. Before joining the DK in April 2021, she worked as a research assistant in the child development lab on the FWF project “The structure and development of understanding actions and reasons”. For her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Josef Perner, she will focus on the development of understanding intentional actions as actions performed for good reasons. She will investigate infants’ understanding of the value of goals for intentional actions. For her projects, she will use eye tracking and behavioral measures and explore the use of EEG measures.
Email: anna.kraemer[at]
Isabel Noachtar completed her master degree in psychology at the University of Salzburg. During this time, she got increasingly interested in neurocognitive methods such as fMRI. Her interest in scientific research grew during her work on a project about patients with traumatic brain injuries at a neuropsychological office in San Francisco, CA (head: Prof. Ronald Ruff). In her master thesis, she investigated the effects of oral contraceptives on verbal and spatial functioning. To examine this topic to a greater extent, her PhD thesis will focus on hormonal influences on a variety of brain functions. Therefore, she will work with DDr. Belinda Pletzer on a longitudinal study investigating the effects of birth control pills in adolescence.
Email: isabel.noachtar[at]
Jasmin Preiß studied psychology at the University of Salzburg and completed her master’s degree with the specialization in “clinical psychology“ in summer 2020. Under the supervision of Prof. Manuel Schabus, she will investigate children’s early cognitive development and its influencing factors, with a focus on neurophysiology.
Email: jasmin.preiss[at]
Anna Natali Ravenschlag studied Psychology with a specialization in Cognitive Neuroscience and obtained her master’s degree at the University of Münster, Germany. In her master thesis, she investigated decomposition mechanisms of morphologically complex words with behavioural and magnetoencephalographic measures. Amongst others, she worked on a project concerning contextual speech rate and vowel perception at the Max-Planck-Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, Netherlands (Psychology of Language Dept., head: Prof. Antje Meyer). From 2018 to 2019, she was employed as a research assistant at the German Police University in Münster (Traffic Psychology Dept., head: Prof. Christine Sutter), investigating developmental factors of risk-related traffic behaviour. She joined the DKIM Salzburg in 2019 and holds a coordination project on Cognitive Connectedness and Bayesian Reverse Inference with Prof. Florian Hutzler as main supervisor.
Email: annanatali.ravenschlag[at]
Patrick Reisinger studied psychology at the University of Salzburg and received his master’s degree in 2019 (Cognitive Neuroscience specialization). In his master’s thesis, he investigated prestimulus brain oscillations within an auditory attention paradigm using MEG. Under the supervision of Prof. Nathan Weisz, his PhD work focuses on direct recordings of hearing nerve activity in cochlear implant users while experiencing various listening situations.
Email: patrick.reisinger[at]
Juliane Schubert studied Psychology at the University of Salzburg and completed her master degree with the specialization in „Cognitive Neuroscience“ in 2019. Then she joined the DK under the supervision of Prof. Nathan Weisz. Her research interest is in auditory processing with a special focus on predictive (Bayesian) processing. During her PhD she will mainly use MEG technology in combination with computational modeling of behavioral data in order to investigate individual differences in predictive auditory perception.
Email: juliane.schubert[at]
Pavlos Topalidis received his BSc in Psychology (first class honours) at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and his MSc in Neuro-Cognitive Psychology at Ludwig Maximillians Universität, in Munich. He completed his master thesis at Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry, investigating sleep characteristics in a large sample of anxiety and depression patients, using objective sleep measures. In 2019 he joined the DK “Imaging the Mind” program, under the supervision of Univ.-Prof. Manuel Schabus. During the PhD his research focuses on the way that the brain processes information during sleep, as well as other altered states of consciousness. He is currently investigating the extent to which top-down modulation of incoming information is preserved during sleep, and whether such modulation changes as a function of both sleep macro- and microstructure.
Email: pavlos.topalidis[at]
Hannah van Alebeek obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, which was followed by a research master in cognitive and behavioural Neuroscience at the University of Groningen (NL). Using different neuroimaging techniques, she investigated neural adaptations and behavioral changes after severe stressors in rodents and examined the relationship between brain metabolites (GABA and glutamate) and sexual desire in humans. For her PhD, supervised by Prof. Jens Blechert in the Eating Lab, she strives to gain insight in neural and cognitive processes guiding automatic approach tendencies towards appetitive food stimuli.
Email: hannah.vanalebeek[at]

2nd cohort

Anja Lender. Born and raised in Hamburg (Germany), I moved to Austria to graduate in Psychology at the University of Vienna. Even back then I had a passion for philosophical questions concerning the relationship between the mind and brain. During my studies I gained insight into several psychophysiological methods, of which electroencephalography (EEG) fascinated me the most.
For my PhD at the Eating Behavior Laboratory I focus on temporal patterns in neural activity of people who differ according to their eating behavior. Under the supervision of Prof. Jens Blechert, I look forward to identifying EEG-patterns, that can be linked to mental processes involved in craving and dieting (e.g. response inhibition and cognitive control), which may help to better differentiate between clinical and non-clinical groups.
Email: anja.lender[at]
Matthias G.Tholen studied mathematics, psychology and philosophy at the RWTH Aachen University and Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg. During his master’s studies in clinical psychology Matthias worked within the Theory of Mind Group at the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience in Salzburg and the Department for Social Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig. His research focused on the neural basis for self- versus other perspective judgements in visual perspective taking and the neural correlates for empathy and theory of mind. In 2015 he graduated with a master’s thesis exploring the use of the label temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) and its reference to macroanatomy and cytoarchitecture.
In the doctoral programme “Imaging the Mind“ Matthias is continuing his research on theory of mind under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Josef Perner where he is investigating a cognitive theory of how human beings represent other people’s mental states.
Email: matthias.tholen[at]
Lavinia Uscātescu has a background in Psychology and Neuroimaging, and has had clinical experience with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Anxiety Disorders. She has also spent some time investigating topics related to visual perception, with a particular interest in the processing of depth orientation. With respect to the research methods she has so far used in her projects, Lavinia has had experience with fMRI, EEG, TMS, and psychophysics.
For her ongoing PhD project, Lavinia mainly focuses on aspects related to dysconnectivity in schizophrenia/schizotypy and ASD/autistic traits, primarily using fMRI methodology.
Email: laviniacarmen.uscatescu[at]

DK Alumni

Dr. Dimitrij Agroskin
Dr. Monika Angerer
Dr. Aditi Arora
Dr. Christine Blume
Dr. Renata del Giudice
Dr. Elie El Rassi
Dr. Sara Fernandez
Dr. Dominik Freunberger
Dr. Michael Hahn
Dr. Andrea Hansen (Scheuringer)
Dr. Dominik Heib
Dr. Esmeralda Hidalgo-López
Dr. Nicole Himmelstoß
Dr. Eugenia Kulakova
Dr. Adelheid Lang
Dr. Julia Lechinger
Dr. Melanie Lenger (Tschernegg)
Dr. Philipp Ludersdorfer
Dr. Christina Mühlberger (Steindl)
Dr. Christina Plamberger (Brötzner)
Dr. Eefje Poppelaars
Dr. Julina Rattel
Dr. Stefan Reiß
Dr. Frank van Schalkwijk
Dr. Aljoscha Thomschewski
Dr. Melanie Wegerer
Dr. Gabriela G. Werner
Dr. Tomasz Wielek
Dr. Nicole Wiggert
Dr. Malgorzata Wislowska
Dr. Andrea Zauner