Main Focus

Successful cognitive aging
  • Investigating the predictive validity of various psycho-social factors and lifestyle characteristics on neuro-cognitive changes in aging
  • Linking properties of an engaged lifestyle to successful, normal, and pathological trajectories in cognitive aging
  • Exploring the neural and behavioral associations and changes and lifestyle-related domains of future time perspectives

Memory, lifestyle, and healthy aging - A neurobiological approach

Age-related changes in the episodic memory network and neuromodulation affect memory and motivation. There is growing consensus that lifestyle factors such as physical exercise, cognitive and social enrichment, and nutrition not only influence motivational aspects but also show effects on the brainstructure. However, it is still largely unknown how lifestyle and neurobiological factors interact. Recent neurobiological findings lead to a more positive view of cognitive aging: physical exercise, for example, seems to induce plasticity –also in the aging brain.

Within BASE-II, I will focus on investigating the interactions between lifestyle factors, cognitive, and neurobiological variables. I will further investigate a new concept, the „subjective health horizon,“ which offers an extended theoretical perspective from the „Selection- Optimization- Compensation-Theory“ (SOC) and the „Socio-Emotional-Selectivity Model.“ This new concept integrates recent neurobiological findings linking lifestyle factors such as physical activity, future thinking, motivation, and novelty, thus leading to new implications for healthy aging. To investigate the aforementioned relationships, I will combine structural imaging methods and psychosocial parameters using VBM and ROI-based analyses, among others.

Curriculum Vitae

Education and Degrees

  • 2010: Dr. rer. nat. (PhD); Magna cum laude; Faculty of Science, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg
  • 2004-2010: PhD student at Department of Neuropsychology, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany
  • 2001: Diploma in Health Science; University of Applied Science Magdeburg/Stendal,                              Germany
  • 1995: Abitur; Gymnasium Burg, Germany

Professional Experience

  • 2012 – ongoing   senior scientist, Center for Lifespan Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Human                   Development, Berlin, Germany
  • 2011-2012: post-doctoral fellow at the German Centre of Neurodegenerative diseases (DZNE) in Magdeburg,
  • 2005-2008: Visiting student at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London
  • 2004-2010: Pre-doctoral & post-doctoral research fellow, Department of Neurology, Medical Faculty, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany
  • 2001-2004: Research scientist; Department of Organizational Science and Psychology (IAF), Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Prof. W. Quaas

Professional service

  • 2015 – ongoing: Review Editor in the Editorial Board of Cognition, a specialty of Frontiers in Psychology; Ad-hoc review for other journals: Human Brain Mapping, Nature Neuroscience, GeroPsych, Gerontology


  • 04/2019 EUCAS Presidential Poster Award for “Individual differences in long-term verbal learning and memory in healthy aging”; European Cognitive Ageing Society (
  • 10/2011: Research Award: “Aging and Work”; Marie Luise und Ernst Becker Stiftung, Germany; Research title: “Neurobiological and psychosocial effects of aerobic exercise on motivation of older people: The new concept of the  subjective health horizon“

Academic teaching

  • 2019/2020: Teaching seminal modul  "Gerontology" Department of Psychology, Freie Universität                                          Berlin
  • 12/2018: Keynote lecture “BASE-II” at BioCog Winter School, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Prof. Georg Winterer)
  • 10/2017: Invited lecture at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: “Lifespan Psychology” (Prof.                                          Denis Gerstorf)
  • 2012/2013: Teaching of seminar on "Cognitive Neuroscience of Episodic Memory Across the Lifespan," Department of Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin (with Prof. Ulman Lindenberger & Dr. Yana Fandakova)
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