Prof. Dr. rer. nat., Dipl.-Psych., PI
Phone: +49 228 287 11151
Nils is PI of the neuroMADLAB, head of the Section of Medical Psychology at the University of Bonn, and group leader in Computational Psychiatry of the Section of Translational Psychiatry at the University of Tübingen.
The work of his lab focuses on the neurobiological principles of motivation, action, & desire. The overarching goal of his interdisciplinary research is to identify innovative approaches to improve aberrant motivation in aberrant motivation in patients suffering from reward dysfunction and disruptions in goal-directed actions.
He studied psychology at TU Chemnitz and obtained his PhD from the psychology department of TU Dresden in 2013. His work focuses on all things tempting; what cost are we willing to incur if we receive a reward in return, and how do we learn when a prospective benefit is worth making an effort? During his PhD, he studied how metabolic feedback, such as caloric intake, modulates brain responses to images of palatable food. During his postdoc at TU Dresden, he studied how dopamine affects action control and reinforcement learning as well as the invigoration of action by reward. Moreover, during his postdoc at the John B. Pierce Laboratory / Yale University in the lab of Prof. Dr. Dana Small, he examined altered brain responses to milkshakes in obesity and dissected the role of effort in shaping reward value.
In 2017, Nils joined the University of Tübingen as head of the Junior Research Group Computational Psychiatry focusing on ‘neuroscience of motivation, action, and desire’ within the Section of Translational Psychiatry of the Department of Psychiatry & Psychotherapy (head: Prof. Dr. Andreas Fallgatter). The lab received initial support from the Faculty of Medicine (IZKF Junior Research Group) and is now part of the Tübingen Center for Mental Health.
In 2022, Nils accepted the offer to join the University of Bonn as the W2-Professor of Medical Psychology at the Department of Psychiatry & Psychotherapy (head: Prof. Dr. Alexandra Philipsen), where he is now head of the section.
Throughout his career, Nils has published more than 50 peer-reviewed publications. In 2014, he received the Werner Straub award for a PhD thesis with the highest distinction from TU Dresden. In 2017, he received an IZKF Junior Research Group award from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tübingen to support the build-up of his lab at the University of Tübingen. In 2018, he received a Publons Peer Review Award for his outstanding engagement as a reviewer in the field of neuroscience and behavior. In 2021 and 2022, the work of the lab received the publication award of the Sections of Biopsychology and Neuropsychology of the German Psychological Society. Since 2019, he serves as section editor for Appetite (Psychology & Neuroscience).
Current research projects:
Impact of transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation on effort-based decision-making
Will work for reward: Effects of ghrelin administration on dopamine and effort (DFG)
In search of reward: Are prediction errors metabolically scaled in women and men (DFG)?
Completed research projects:
Reliability assessment of fMRI data
Binge eating disorder and neural variability
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