Principal Investigator

Prof. Dr. med. Inga Katharina Koerte, M.D.
Dr. Koerte is holding a dual affiliation as Professor of Neurobiological Research in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU), Munich, Germany and as Lecturer in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS), Boston, USA.

The overarching goal of Dr. Koerte’s research is to investigate the effects of brain trauma on the brain’s structure and function, as well as the development of diagnostic markers that can be used for the purpose of both therapeutic, and preventative interventions. Her research focuses on the most vulnerable traumatic brain injury (TBI) patient cohorts – children, adolescents, and women.
Dr. Koerte was the first to show alterations in the brain’s microstructure following repetitive subconcussive head impacts in young athletes without a history of concussion, as well as structural changes in ice hockey players over the course of a play season. Together with her team, she detected signs of accelerated aging and neuroinflammation associated with exposure to repetitive brain trauma, identified risk factors, and biomarkers for neurodegeneration after brain trauma. Dr. Koerte is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. She is the principal investigator of a study elucidating the effects of sex in sports-related concussion funded by the National Institutes of Health (RO1 NINDS). She is the Coordinator of a European multi-site study on the effects of repetitive head impacts in youth athletes (REPIMPACT), and a Co-leader of an international, multi-center initiative on large-scale analyses of neuroimaging data in sports-related concussion and pediatric TBI (ENIGMA). Dr. Koerte is associate faculty of the Graduate School of Systemic Neuroscience in Munich, Germany.

In summary, Dr. Koerte has a record of accomplished and productive high-impact research projects in an area of high relevance to public health. Her research utilizes and further develops cutting-edge technology to address brain alterations following brain injury and aims to lead to a new understanding of brain processes following traumatic brain injury. This new understanding will, in turn, open up new horizons for early diagnosis, effective therapeutic approaches, and prevention of long-term sequelae, for which she is most committed.

Contact Inga: inga.koerte [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Senior Scientist

Dr. rer. nat. Saskia Rusche (née Steinmann)

Saskia joined cBrain in 2023 as senior scientist. Previously she was Co-Director of the Psychiatry Neuroimaging Branch (PNB) at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, lecturer at the University of Hamburg and visiting scientist at the Harvard Medical School's Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory (PNL). The aim of her work is to use multimodal neuroimaging techniques (EEG, fMRI, EEG-fMRI, and dMRI) to study the pathophysiology of psychiatric and neurological disorders. Throughout her career she has received several scholarships and is author of over 40 publications in peer-reviewed journals. Saskia is particularly known for her work on brain hemispheric dysfunction as a mediating factor behind auditory-verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia translating into the „interhemispheric miscommunication theory“. Saskia holds a M.A. from LMU Munich and a PhD from the University of Hamburg.

Contact Saskia: saskia.rusche [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Senior Administrative Assistant

Doris Bianco
Doris has been senior administrative assistant of the Directorate of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at LMU since 2013 and secretary at cBRAIN since February 2020. With her decades of experience, she supports cBRAIN in the planning and implementation of research studies.

Contact Doris: doris.bianco[at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Research Coordinator

Anja Betz, M.Sc.

Anja joined cBRAIN in 2021 for her thesis project and graduated in 2023 with a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. Afterward, she stayed at cBRAIN as a research coordinator. Her active research interests lie at the intersection of neuropsychology and neuroimaging: physiological and psychological consequences of mTBI, prognosis and early potential for intervention, as well as the statistical modeling of neuroimaging data. In 2022, she visited HMS for a research internship.

Contact Anja: anja.betz [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Post-Docs & Visiting Scientists

Dr. med. Annika Cecil Bertram, M.D., B.Sc.

Annika earned her B.Sc. in Business Administration from Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg in 2014. In 2020, she successfully graduated from medical school at Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg. She has a keen interest in psychiatry and the potential to visualize psychopathologies through imaging techniques. In 2021, while working as a resident physician in neuroradiology at the University Hospital Heidelberg, she gained expertise in neuroimaging. Her doctoral thesis focused on imaging techniques in maxillofacial surgery and was successfully defended in 2022.
In the same year, Annika transitioned to Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich, aiming to expand her knowledge of mental disorders in childhood and adolescence. As an experienced resident physician in child and adolescent psychiatry, she joined cBRAIN in 2023. Her research revolves around integrating neuroimaging techniques and neuropsychology in the study of brain development.

Contact Annika: annika.bertram[at]med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Elena Bonke, Ph.D.

Elena is a visiting scientist at cBRAIN since 2023 after completing her Ph.D. at cBRAIN and the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences (GSN). In 2020, she additionally joined the Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA as a research trainee. Her main interests are applying multimodal neuroimaging techniques to study both brain development in the healthy brain in association with motor development, as well as brain development in the injured brain after (sport-related) concussion.

Contact Elena: elena.bonke [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Julie Joyce, M.Sc.

Julie holds a Master’s degree in medical science with a specialization in medical imaging and a Bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Calgary. She joined cBRAIN in 2022 to investigate the effects of traumatic brain injury and repetitive head impacts on brain metabolism. In 2023, she additionally joined the Center for Clinical Spectroscopy at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.​

Contact Julie: julie.joyce [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

PD Dr. med. Elisabeth Kaufmann, M.D.
Elisabeth is an attending physician in Neurology at LMU. She graduated from LMU in 2012 and received her dissertation in 2013. Her research interests include stimulation therapies and neuroimaging in epilepsy, narcolepsy as well as traumatic brain injury. Supported by cBRAIN, she spent a postdoctoral fellowships at HMS to expand her knowledge about advanced analysis techniques for structural and functional MRI.

Contact Elisabeth: elisabeth.kaufmann[at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Dr. med. Vivian Schultz, M.D.
Vivian graduated from medical school at University of Freiburg in December 2019. She started her residency at the Department of Interventional and Diagnostic Neuroradiology at Klinikum rechts der Isar, TUM, in 2020. Vivian began to work with neuroimaging of repetitive head impacts during a one-year research fellowship at the PNL at HMS in 2016/2017. Now, her primary research focus lies on utilizing advanced neuroimaging techniques to explore long- and short-term effects of sports-related concussion and subconcussive head impacts.

Contact Vivian: vivian.schultz [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Dr. med. Johanna Seitz-Holland, M.D., B.Sc.
Johanna received her B.Sc. in psychology from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in 2012. In 2019 she finished medical school at the Technische Universität München. While achieving her clinical degree, Johanna primarily focused on psychiatry, psychosomatic, and psychotherapy. Starting in 2014, she wrote her doctoral thesis at cBRAIN using diffusion tensor imaging techniques to understand early course schizophrenia and graduated in January 2020. Johanna is currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, in Boston. Her research's primary focus is to utilize advanced neuroimaging techniques and statistical modeling to understand the structure of the human brain and its role in psychiatric symptoms (especially psychosis). Specifically, she is interested in the interaction of brain structure and physical health and the effect of sex on this interaction.

Contact Johanna: johanna.seitz [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

PD Dr. med. Nico Sollmann, M.D., Ph.D., B.A.
Nico graduated from medical school at TUM in 2013. He completed the Ph.D. program “Medical Life Science and Technology” at TUM in 2017, followed by residency at the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology at Klinikum rechts der Isar from 2017 to 2020. He now works as a resident at the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at University Hospital Ulm, holding simultaneous positions as a visiting scientist at the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology at Klinikum rechts der Isar and cBRAIN. His main research interests include brain stimulation by navigated TMS and its combination with advanced imaging techniques, imaging in mild traumatic brain injury, and imaging in osteoporosis and degenerative spine diseases (including magnetic resonance neurography and chemical shift encoding-based water-fat MRI). He started to work with diffusion tensor imaging in mild traumatic brain injury during a fellowship at PNL, HMS in 2016.

Contact Nico: nico.sollmann[at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Alberto Villagran, M.Sc.
Alberto is a physicist fascinated by the technological challenges in healthcare. He has a master's degree in medical physics and is finishing his PhD studies in Experimental Medicine at the Technical University of Munich. He has been involved in R&D medical imaging since 2014 and joined cBRAIN in September 2022 to contribute to the area of pediatric neuroimaging.

Contact Alberto: alberto.villagran[at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Dissertation Candidates

Luisa Berger, B.Sc.
Luisa is a medical student at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and joined cBRAIN as a doctorate candidate in 2022. Several research experiences during her B.Sc. of Psychology strengthened her interest for pediatric and psychophysiological research. Due to her double degree studies she is interested in the intersection between neuroimaging and neuropsychology. She is holding a scholarship of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.

Contact Luisa: luisa.berger [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Leonard Jung

Leonard is a medical student at LMU and a doctorate student at cBRAIN since 2019. Using advanced MRI techniques, he investigates the impact of contact sports on brain clearance and accelerated aging processes. Leonard has received the LMU- international medical research scholarship (iFo MeCuM) and the LMU-Harvard research scholarship.

Contact Leo: leonard.jung [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Cara Lynn Kim

Cara is a medical student at the Technical University of Munich and joined cBRAIN as a doctorate student in 2019. Her main interest lies in the field of traumatic brain injuries and the long-term consequences of repetitive head impacts in athletes. Cara is holding scholarships from the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation for Freedom.

Contact Cara: [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Zheyuan Li, M.Sc.

Zheyuan is a Ph.D. student at cBRAIN. He graduated and received his Master’s degree from Peking University, where he finished his clinical training and research in the neurology department. He is mainly interested in the correlation between clinical characteristics and advanced neuroimaging in patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Zheyuan is holding a scholarship from the CSC program.

Contact Zheyuan: [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Hanneke MacLaren, B.Sc.

Hanneke is enrolled in the Fast-Track PhD programme within the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences (GSN) and will start her PhD at cBRAIN in October 2022. She completed her undergraduate degree in neuroscience at the University of Dundee in Scotland. Her main interests are the influence of sex differences on normal and post-traumatic brain development, as well as neuro-immune interactions.

Contact Hanneke: hanneke.maclaren [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Lisa Nguyen

Lisa is a medical student at LMU and joined cBRAIN as a research assistant in 2021. Due to her interests in neuroimaging and the effects of PTSD and mTBI on the human brain, she has continued to work as a doctorate student since April 2023. For her research stay as a research trainee at the PNL, HMS, she was funded by the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds Travel Grant. Lisa is holding scholarships of the Barthel Foundation and the Hans-Rudolf-Foundation.

Contact Lisa: lisa.nguyen [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Lara Pankatz

Lara is a medical student at LMU. Funded by LMU's FöFoLe program she joined cBRAIN as a doctorate student in 2020. Her main interest lies in sex differences underlying brain structural changes after sport-related brain injury. Also, she will be involved in analyzing diffusion tensor imaging in mild traumatic brain injury in young soccer players in Munich. She is looking forward to spending a research semester at PNL, HMS in 2021.

Contact Lara: lara.pankatz [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Paul Raffelhüschen

Paul is a medical student at TU Munich and joined the team in 2019 as doctorate student. His interests lie in the assessment of advanced imaging techniques for clinical application and the long term effects of TBI on the human brain. He is therefore working on data of sports related brain injuries and sex differences in TBI rehabilitation and is spending a semester at PNL, HMS.

Contact Paul: paul.raffelhueschen.extern [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Philine Rojczyk, M.Sc.
Philine graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Leiden University, The Netherlands and moved to Germany in 2016 where she is a clinical psychology Master’s student at Medical School Hamburg. Philine is interested in brain structural changes during brain development. Following her Master’s she will be spending a 1 year research traineeship at HMS.

Contact Philine: philine.rojczyk [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Luisa Schuhmacher
Luisa is a medical student at LMU. She joined cBRAIN in December 2020 as a research assistant. In September 2022 she began her doctoral studies. Her interests lie in the neurodevelopmental trajectories of children and adolescents, and the effects of mTBI on their development. In cBRAIN, she is responsible for conducting the MRI exams for the studies EULE, Neu-Vasc and NEUROPRECISE.

Contact Luisa: luisa.schuhmacher [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Bettina Schwarz-Moertel, M.D.
Bettina graduated from LMU with an MD in 2007. She has since focused on emergency medicine with training in general surgery, anesthesiology and emergency medicine at the University Hospital of Munich Großhadern and Heidelberg. She joined cBRAIN in 2018 to investigate the clinical relevance and applicability of neuroimaging markers to predict outcome following traumatic brain injury.

Contact Bettina: bettina.moertl [at] gmail [dot] com

Kosisochukwu E. Umeasalugo, M.Sc., B.Sc.
Kosisochukwu is a doctoral student enrolled in the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences (GSN). He obtained a B.Sc. in Human Anatomy in 2012 and an M.Sc. in Neurosciences in 2019. He joined cBRAIN in 2020 owing to his interest in mild TBI and neuroimaging. Kosisochukwu investigates the therapeutic potential of neurosteroids after mild TBI with respect to age and sex.

Contact Kosisochukwu: kosisochukwu.umeasalugo[at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Lisa Umminger, M.D., B.Sc.
Lisa graduated from LMU with a degree in psychology in 2014. She is currently a medical student and doctorate student at LMU. By focusing on psychopathology/clinical neuropsychology, she developed her interest in neurobiological correlates of psychiatric diseases. Her research focuses on the the interaction of TBI and PTSD. Lisa is stipend of the Rolf W. Günther Stiftung for radiological research.

Contact Lisa: lisa.umminger [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Tim Wiegand
Tim is a medical student at LMU and a medical PhD student at cBRAIN. He focusses on advanced neuroimaging techniques for the study of effects of repetitive head impacts in soccer players as well as Americal football players. In addition, he is interested in AI-driven research methods in neuroscience. After spending a summer internship at the PNL in 2017, he has returned as a research trainee to the PNL in March 2021. Tim is co-founder of erimed and LMU AIM. He is holding scholarships of LMU, Harvard-Munich Club, and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

Contact Tim: tim.wiegand [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Master's Students

Elisabeth Moulaert, B.Sc.

Elisabeth is a neuroscience master student at the Graduate School of Neuroscience (GSN). She graduated from University College Utrecht in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in cognitive neuroscience and molecular biology, with a minor in Political Science. Her interests lie in baby and children brain and cognitive development using neuroimaging methods. She is also interested in the consequences of injury and the influence of environment on their development.

Contact Elisabeth: elisabeth.moulaert [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de

Kate Rendall, B.Sc.

Kate is a master’s student at LMU studying at the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences (GSN). She graduated from the University of Toronto in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience. Kate is interested in using multimodal neuroimaging techniques to investigate the effects of sports-related repetitive head impacts on brain structure and function.

Contact Kate: kate.rendall [at] med.uni-muenchen [dot] de