Science out in the open

~10min read

Open Science! Chances are, you’ve already stumbled upon this term. But isn’t science always open by design because we publish our results, you might wonder. Unfortunately, it is not as open as it should be to allow for quality control measures. So let’s first have a look at the scientific process itself to see where it is open by default and where not.

Is openness an inherent part of the scientific process?

Scientist or not; everyone uses the scientific method to solve everyday problems. Why does your toast land on the buttered side when accidentally thrown off the table? Which apple do you pick from the pile in the supermarket? In such cases, you’ve made an observation or asked a question and most likely also formulated a hypothesis. For example, you may pick an apple that is firm, red and without any brown spots, because you act on the hypothesis that these characteristics signal good taste.

Continue reading “Science out in the open”

DAAD RISE: Welcome, Naria!


It is a pleasure for us to announce that we have a new member in our team. A student supported by the RISE (Research in Science and Engineering) program of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) was successfully placed in our group.

Naria Quazi is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. Studying Neurobiology and Psychology at her home university, Naria has a fascination with how the brain works both at the molecular and behavioral level. Naria will be joining neuroMADLAB for the summer of 2018.


Too much or too little reward from eating: why do we overeat?

~5min read

Many things in life are simple to describe, yet difficult to understand. One such obvious fact is that if one consumes more calories than one expends, this will eventually lead to weight gain and, ultimately, overweight and obesity. But what causes the excess in consumption that has propelled the surge in obesity in the past decades?

Intuitively, it is tempting to assume that overeating is driven by greater pleasure derived from eating. To examine the cause for overindulgence, we often present food cues and track how the brain evaluates them. Such cues range from pictures of palatable food to simple geometric shapes predicting the delivery of chocolate milkshake in the scanner. In line with the “reward surfeit” idea, many studies have observed an increased response to food cues in the brain’s reward circuit in overweight and obese individuals. This is then interpreted as an increased desire elicited by the prospect of food. Continue reading “Too much or too little reward from eating: why do we overeat?”

the neuroMADLAB end-of-the-year review

It’s almost time for the lab to head off into the holiday break, so we thought we should take a look back at the past year (the first year that neuroMADLAB existed), collect our personal highlights and share them with you.

Enjoy the review, take a look around our brand new website and have great holidays! See you next year!

  • 01/01: Official starting date of the junior research group at the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital Tübingen
  • 09/01: Okay, it is Southern Germany, so basically no one is working before the 6th
  • 18/01: Nils hosts the first journal club of the Section of Translational Psychiatry. Lots of fMRI from now on. And discussions about stats, of course
  • 07/02: Monja joined neuroMADLAB for her Master’s thesis
  • 01/04: Vanessa joined neuroMADLAB as a PhD Student
  • 28/06: Nils gives a talk at OHBM
  • 19/07: Nils receives a junior research group grant by the Faculty of Medicine, University of Tübingen
  • 14/08: We got data! The first subject for the new tVNS project was measured
  • 22/08: Ellie joined neuroMADLAB as our very own MATLAB-controlled candy dispenser, thanks to Vanessa. Happy birthday pal!
  • 21/09: Nils gives a talk at the neuroeconomics seminar, University of Zurich
  • 27/09: Vanessa receives a fellowship within the Open Science Fellows Program by Wikimedia Germany, Stifterverband and Volkswagenstiftung
  • 29/09: Nils receives a grant from the Else Kroener-Fresenius-Stiftung
  • 01/10: Caro joined neuroMADLAB as a PhD student
  • 01/10: Franzi joined neuroMADLAB for her medical doctoral thesis
  • 02/10: We take the power of effort in shaping reward value seriously: The new members are celebrated with handground coffee
  • 25/10: Monja & Vanessa host the first PhD happy hour (ProSt)
  • 07/11: Initial release of the fmreli toolbox, our first open resource built to help improve the reliability of fMRI data
  • 07/11: neuroMADLAB finally got its name. And a twitter handle. What a day 🙂
  • 09/12: Unofficial launch of
  • 15/12: Caro showcases once more her profound skills in image acquisition and processing at a whole other level. A picture is worth a thousand words (and some freezing):