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Generating knowledge and sharing it with society

July 12, 2018: This has been the motivation with which Jonathan Schiefer has conducted his research. Now the Bernstein Center Freiburg would like to congratulate him on his successful dissertation on "Inference of multi-scale connectivity in the brain".
Generating knowledge and sharing it with society

Jonathan Schiefer

"It hasn’t really sunk in yet," admits Jonathan Schiefer a few hours after defending his successful dissertation. “But it's definitely a good feeling to finish off my time at the Bernstein Center Freiburg in this way," says the 30-year-old who began his academic career initially by studying mathematics and who moved to the Bernstein Center Freiburg in 2013.

"Mathematicians learn to work with abstract structures and problems," outlines Jonathan Schiefer. "But I quickly realized that I was missing a link to concrete applications." The combination of mathematics and neurosciences, of theory, simulation and experiment, as implemented at the Bernstein Center, proved to be an ideal way of closing this gap for him.

Together with colleagues, Jonathan Schiefer has investigated which brain regions interact causally. However, he admits the topic, on which he has been intensively researching for several years, he "honestly did not fully understand at the beginning". But that didn't stop him from getting enthusiastic about it. And to this day he has lost none of his passion for developing new methods to efficiently analyze data.

However, Jonathan Schiefer's focus was not so much on his doctorate. "From the outset the scientific world is for me a good world with all its challenges and problems which naturally exist there," says the young scientist. “And the idea of wanting to understand things, to generate new knowledge, to make it accessible to others and in some way to give something back to society – that makes it all worthwhile for me.” And was part of his motivation. “Of course, it's great to be awarded a doctorate for this, but I would have taken the chance to do intensive research for several years even without any prospect of a doctorate. I would have still done the same thing.” Jonathan Schiefer’s passion remains developing methods for improving data analysis, including machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Inference of multi-scale connectivity in the brain

Original publications
Schiefer J, Niederbühl A, Pernice V, Lennartz C, LeVan P, Hennig J, Rotter S

From Correlation to Causation: Estimation of Effective Connectivity from Continuous Brain Signals based on Zero-Lag Covariance

PLOS Computational Biology 14(3): e1006056, 2018

Lennartz C, Schiefer J, Rotter S, Hennig J, LeVan P

Sparse Estimation of Resting-State Effective Connectivity from fMRI Cross-Spectra

Frontiers in Neuroscience 12: 287, 2018

Jonathan Schiefer
Prof. Dr. Stefan Rotter
Professor of Computational Neuroscience
Managing Director, Bernstein Center Freiburg
Faculty of Biology
University of Freiburg
Hansastr. 9a
79104 Freiburg, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)761 203 9316

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