Adrian Asendorf, M.Sc.

Adrian Asendorf joined the MMNI lab as a PhD candidate in January 2022. Already while conducting his master’s thesis project in our group in 2021, he became highly interested in unraveling the mechanisms of dopaminergic modulation of cognition and locomotion in the context of Parkinson’s disease. For this purpose, he employs resting state fMRI and task-based fMRI together with dopamine sensitive PET imaging in a multimodal approach to investigate the mechanistic link between dopaminergic degeneration and alterations in dynamics of large-scale functional networks. Furthermore, he is highly involved in the implementation of the currently ongoing DoMoCo study in the context of the SFB1451 research grant, which is aimed to address the effects of progressive dopamine deficiency on networks engaged in vigorous volitional movements, dynamic network states and network topologies in Parkinson’s disease. Finally, Adrian is committed to building and maintaining a reliable IT structure for the MMNI lab.

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Magdalena Banwinkler, Msc

Magdalena Banwinkler studied Psychology at the University of Vienna and obtained her Master’s degree in Biological Psychology in 2020. She joined the MMNI Group as a PhD candidate in March 2021 and is now performing her PhD training as part of the Collaborative Research Center “SFB 1451: Key mechanisms of motor control in health and disease”. The main objective of Magdalena Banwinkler’s research work is the investigation of structural and functional mechanisms that underlie Parkinson’s disease. To address her research aims she is using behavioral measurements as well as non-invasive neuroimaging methods, such as functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). With her work, she strives to gain a deeper understanding of the neural basis of motor control.


Julia Lothmann, MSc

Julia Lothmann completed her master’s thesis on the predictability of regional amyloid burden for the progression to preclinical and clinical Alzheimer’s disease in 2020 at the MMNI group. She has recently joined the group and will investigate molecular and functional mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease, such as tau and amyloid accumulation in the brain. Her research interests further extend into the domain of cognitive reserve as well as the effects of lifestyle factors in regard to the development of neuropathology in Alzheimer’s disease.


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Verena Dzialas, MSc

Verena Dzialas is interested in reserve mechanisms in Parkinson’s disease patients. While the concept of reserve mechanisms is already well-established in Alzheimer’s disease, not much is known about factors mitigating the association between neurodegeneration and motor disability in Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, Verena Dzialas focuses on the investigation of neurobiological (e.g. gray matter volume (GMV) differences) and lifetime factors (e.g. physical activity) contributing to motor reserve capacity in Parkinson’s disease using multimodal imaging, voxel-vise GMV comparison and graph theoretical analysis. Moreover, she is interested in disease progression depending on the level of motor reserve, which is investigated with multilevel models.



Philipp Schlüter, BSc

Philipp Schlüter is a research fellow at the INM-2 at the Research Center Jülich and a researcher in the Multimodal Imaging Group.
He investigates the molecular mechanism in Alzheimer’s disease, such as production and transport of tau in the brain, using numerical models.
His research interest is in machine learning and AI methodologies.



Elena Doering, MSc

Elena Doering completed her master’s thesis on the effects of vibrotactile cueing on freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease in 2019. She has recently joined the MMNI group as a PhD candidate, where she will investigate molecular and neuronal mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease, such as for example tau and amyloid accumulation in the brain. Her research interest further extends into the domain of machine learning and artificial intelligence methodologies.

See me on linkedin.
See me on Researchgate.


Doering, E., Pukropski, A., Krumnack, U., Schaffland, A. Automatic Detection and Counting of Malaria Parasite-Infected Blood Cells. Proceedings of MICAD2020 (in print). Lecture Notes in Electrical Engineering.


Michelle Meier, cand. med.

My research focuses on improving imaging-derived diagnosis of Parkinsonian Syndromes via artificial intelligence. Therefore, I explore tools of automatizing the image analysis process by implementing various methods in the field of machine learning and deep learning.

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Michelle Meier
MD student


Hendrik Theis, M.D.

Hendrik Theis is a resident physician at the Department of Neurology at the University Hospital of Cologne and a researcher in the Multimodal Imaging Group. His research focus is the dopaminergic modulation of brain networks. He is investigating changes of fronto-striatal connectivity in Parkinson’s patients with impulse-control disorders and he is also interested in reward learning in obesity.



Hammes, J, Theis, H, Giehl, K, Hoenig, MC, Greuel, A, Tittgemeyer, M et al.. Dopamine metabolism of the nucleus accumbens and fronto-striatal connectivity modulate impulse control. Brain. 2019;142 (3):733-743.

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Hendrik Theis


Merle Hönig, PhD

MedizinFoto Köln

Merle Hönig’s research interest is focused on the investigation of resilience mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases. As part of her work, she elucidates the role of lifetime factors such as education, occupation, nutrition and physical activity in regard to the occurrence and extent of neuropathology and changes in network function in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. In addition, she is interested in genetic and epigenetic changes and how these factors are, in turn, associated with resilience mechanisms.

Selected publications:

Hönig MC, Bischof GN, Hammes J, Faber J, Fliessbach K, van Eimeren T, et al. Tau pathology and cognitive reserve in Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiol Aging. 2017 Sep;57:1–7.

Hönig MC, Bischof GN, Seemiller J, Hammes J, Kukolja J, Onur Ö, Jessen F, Fliessbach K, Neumaier B, Fink GR, van Eimeren T, Drzezga A. Networks of tau distribution in Alzheimer’s disease. Brain, 2018

Hönig MC, Bischof GN, Özgür OA, Kukolja J, Jessen F, Fliessbach K, Neumaier B, Fink GR, Kalbe E, Drzezga A, van Eimeren T: Level of education mitigates the impact of tau pathology on neuronal function. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging.2019 Aug;46(9):1787-1795

Curriculum Vitae (Hoenig_CV)