Group Leader

Since August 2016, Dr. Marcel Oberlaender is leading the Max Planck Research Group ‘In Silico Brain Sciences’.

Marcel Oberlaender was born in Blankenburg, Germany, in 1980. Between 2000 and 2006, he studied Physics at the Ruprecht-Karls-University in Heidelberg. In 2003, he was awarded with a scholarship of the Study Abroad Program, and spent one year as a non-degree BSc student at the University of Melbourne, Australia. At this time, he became fascinated by the field of Neuroanatomy – an interest he was able to pursue further in 2005/06 during his diploma thesis in the department of Bert Sakmann at the MPI for Medical Research in Heidelberg. He stayed with Bert Sakmann, and moved with him to the MPI of Neurobiology in Munich to do his doctorate degree, which he received in 2009. Thereafter he became a post-doctoral fellow in the department of Bert Sakmann at the newly established Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in the US. In 2012, Dr. Oberlaender established the Computational Neuroanatomy Group at the MPI for Biological Cybernetics in Tuebingen, funded by the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, which he led for four years. During this time, he continued to work as project leader in the Max Planck Florida Institute. After receiving a conspicuous research grant from the European Research Council in 2015, he moved to caesar, where he established in 2016 the Max Planck Research Group ‘In Silico Brain Sciences’. The long-term goal of Dr. Oberlaender’s research is to generate anatomically realistic neuronal network models, and to use these in silico representations of the mammalian brain for simulation experiments that mimic in vivo conditions, for example during sensory-guided behaviors.


2000 – 2006 Diploma, University of Heidelberg, Faculty for Physics and Astronomy
2003 – 2004 Non-degree Bachelor of Science, University of Melbourne (study abroad program)
2009 Doctoral thesis, Prof. Sakmann, MPI of Neurobiology; University of Heidelberg

Academic Career

2009 – 2012 Postdoctoral fellow, Dep. of Digital Neuroanatomy, Max Planck Florida Institute
2012 – 2016 Bernstein Group leader, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen
2012 – 2015 Guest-group leader, Dep. of Digital Neuroanatomy, Max Planck Florida Institute
Since 08/2016 Max Planck Group leader, Center for Advanced European Studies and Research

Awards and Honors

2007 Tamagawa-Riken Junior Research Travel Award
2009 ‘Summa cum laude’ for doctoral thesis work
2014 Career Development Award of the Giovanni Armenise – Harvard Foundation
2015 Starting Grant of the European Research Council
Dr. Marcel Oberlaender
Group Leader