Since June 2017, Dr. Kevin Briggman is director of the Department of Computational Neuroethology. He is the current managing director of caesar.
Dr. Briggman was originally trained as an electrical engineer at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, USA. As part of his undergraduate curriculum, he studied computational neuroscience and developed an appreciation for the complexity of brain circuits compared to electrical circuits. He decided to pursue graduate studies in computational neurobiology at the University of California, San Diego, USA, earning his doctorate in 2005, and then became a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany from 2005 to 2011. From 2011 to 2017, he led an independent research group as an Investigator at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA. In addition to becoming Director and head of the Department of Computational Neuroethology at the caesar research center, Kevin Briggman is also an appointed Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and a member of the MPI for Metabolism Research, Cologne.
Dr. Briggman’s research is based on an interdisciplinary approach which encompasses behavioral analysis, cellular resolution imaging of neuronal populations, 3D electron microscopy and computational modelling to understand how circuits in the nervous system control animal behavior. The long-term goal of the Department of Computational Neuroethology is to develop models of neural circuits which take into account behavioral variability. Such models should ultimately serve to predict a certain behavioral outcome from the neuronal activity pattern observed in an animal’s brain.
Assistant: Sabine Winkler
Since September 2013, Prof. Dr. Jason Kerr is director of the Department Behavior and Brain Organization.
Jason Kerr was born in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1970. From 1989 onward, he initially studied human anatomy at the Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand, graduating with a BSc in 1994, followed by a DipSci in human anatomy in 1995. He remained at Otago University, carrying out research until 1999, when he was awarded a doctorate in neurophysiology. Thereafter he held two post-doc positions, first from 1999 to late 2003 at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and then until 2005 at the MPI for Medical Research in Heidelberg. Dr. Kerr continued to work as project leader until 2006 in the department headed by Bert Sakmann, before taking up the post of leader of the Network Imaging Group at the MPI for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen. In addition to becoming Director and head of the Department of Behavior and Brain Organization at the caesar research center, Jason Kerr is also an appointed Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and a member of the MPI for Metabolism Research, Cologne. In November 2019, he was appointed professor for „Behavior and Brain Organization”, joining the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. The long-term goal of Dr. Kerr’s research is to understand how mammals use their vision to make decisions and the neurobiological mechanisms that underlie this process.
Assistant: Ruth Pohle