Interdisciplinary Approaches in the Neurosciences: From Mitochondria to Behaviour and Neuromorphic Engineering

When: 12.09.2022 9:00-18:00

Where: Akademiegebäude am Gendarmenmarkt, Leibniz-Saal, Markgrafenstraße 38, 10117 Berlin

Understanding the brain remains a fascinating challenge that requires the exchange across many disciplines – from the molecular to behavioural sciences – and also involves computational and engineering approaches. In this scientific symposium we bring together researchers from diverse neuroscientific backgrounds who will share their latest insights into neural processing and engage into a lively interdisciplinary debate. The symposium also constitutes the final meeting of the research groups in the funding line “Independent Research Groups in the Neurosciences” of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany, celebrating a highly successful initiative that supported many talented researchers over the course of the past 15 years.

The symposium will enlighten us on the latest techniques for optogenetic manipulation of neural activity (Peter Hegemann), on the mechanisms of insect olfaction (Silke Sachse) as well as on the molecular mechanisms of synaptic memory storage (Susanne Schoch). We will learn about a novel functional correlation between mitochondrial and neural activity (Tim Vogels) and about the mightiness of dinosaur brains compared to that of primates in terms of neuron numbers (Suzana Herculano-Houzel). We will see how fast-moving insects, like flies, determine the direction of visual motion based on computational principles that inspire the research in many other species (Axel Borst). Finally, we will see how the biophysics of action potentials have a strong say in what neural networks do (Susanne Schreiber) and why biological insights are important for the design of neuromorphic hardware (Elisa Donati), which in the future can be expected to impact more than just the neurological aspects of our lives.

To register for the symposium please send an e-mail with your contact details (including your work address and home institution) to Please put ‘Registration Interdisciplinary Symposium’ in the subject line of your mail. Participation is free, yet we ask you to consider your reservation as binding. Registration deadline is Monday September 5th 2022.

An event of the “Independent research groups in the neurosciences” (BMBF) in cooperation with the biennial theme 2021|22 “Measuring the Living” of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.


9:00 - 9:15 Welcome

Andreas Klein
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Susanne Schreiber
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

9:15 - 10:00 “Light-control of neuronal networks”

Peter Hegemann
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Member of the Academy

10:00 - 10:45 “From brain to behavior: neuronal mechanisms of insect olfaction”

Silke Sachse
Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena

10:45 - 11:15 Coffee Break

11:15 - 12:00 “Deciphering mechanisms of synaptic memory storage”

Susanne Schoch
University of Bonn Medical Center

12:00 - 12:45 “On the origin of spontaneous spikes: metabolic homeostasis to save the day”

Tim Vogels
Institute for Science and Technology Austria

12:45 - 14:30 Lunch Break

14:30 - 15:15 “The surprising neuron numbers of dinosaur brains”

Suzana Herculano-Houzel
Vanderbilt University, US

15:15 - 16:00 “How fly neurons compute the direction of visual motion”

Alexander Borst
Max-Planck-Institute for Biological Intelligence, Munich

16:00 - 16:30 Coffee Break

16:30 - 17:15 “The underestimated role of action-potential biophysics for neural networks”

Susanne Schreiber
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

17:15 - 18:00 “Neuromorphic engineering for building human-machine interfaces”

Elisa Donati
Institute of Neuroinformatics, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich

18:00 - 18:10 Closing Remarks

Public event: Einblicke ins Denken - Von Nervenzellen, Orientierungssinn und dem Glück andere zu verstehen

We note that on the preceding Sunday September 11th 2022 at 18:00 we organise an event in GERMAN (in cooperation with the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Bernstein Network for Computational Neuroscience). Here Tim Vogels, Silke Anders and Markus Knaden present insights into fascinating aspects of current neuroscientific research for the general public.

More information can be found here.

Participation is for free. For this specific event, registration is handled by the Academy (provided on the website when following the link).