Prof. Dr. rer. nat., Dipl.-Psych., PI
Phone: +49 7071/ 29-82021
Nils is 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 patients suffering from alterations in reward processing and disruptions in goal-directed actions.
He studied psychology at Chemnitz UT and obtained his PhD from the psychology department of TU Dresden in 2013. Nils’ 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 the brain response to images of palatable food. During his postdoc at TUD, he studied how dopamine affects action control and reinforcement learning as well as the invigoration of action by reward. Moreover, he did a postdoc at the John B. Pierce Laboratory / Yale University in the lab of Prof. Dana Small examining alterations of brain response to milkshakes in obesity and dissecting 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. Fallgatter). The lab received initial support from the Faculty of Medicine (IZKF Junior Research Group) and is part of the Tübingen Center for Mental Health.
Nils has received the Werner Straub award for a PhD thesis with the highest distinction by TUD in 2014 and an IZKF Junior Research Group award by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Tübingen in 2017. In 2018, he received a Publons Peer Review Award for his outstanding engagement as a reviewer in the field of neuroscience and behavior. In 2020, 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).
As many of his coworkers and students will confirm, Nils is notorious for advocating advanced statistical modeling (‘duh, there is a NO in ANOVA’) and the never-ending search for the most stunning visualization of data.
Current research projects:
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)?