TübingenNeuroCampus – connecting Tübingen’s neuroscience community

The neurosciences in Tübingen with more than 100 active research groups have the potential to rank among the most successful neuroscientific sites in Europe. Scientists in Tübingen pursue theoretical, system-neuroscientific, molecular, clinical and computational research approaches in their entire breadth using a wide range of methods. The new TübingenNeuroCampus (TNC) would like to ensure the optimal use of Tübingen’s potential with respect to research, education, and application.

History of the TNC

The idea to connect Tübingen’s neuroscience community and foster exchange and communication has existed for a long time. Finally, in early 2018, Prof. Dr. Thomas Gasser, head of the Centre for Neurology, gathered Prof. Dr. Philipp Berens (Institute for Ophthalmic Research), Prof. Dr. Matthias Bethge (University of Tübingen & Bernstein Center), Prof. Dr. Thomas Euler (Centre for Integrative Neuroscience), Prof. Dr. Andreas Fallgatter (Center for Mental Health), Prof. Dr. Peter Heutink (German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases), Prof. Dr. Marius Ueffing (Centre for Neurosensory Systems) and Prof. Dr. Stephan Zipfel (Psychosomatic Medicine und Psychotherapy, UKT) at the restaurant “Stern” in Tübingen’s old town for a strategy meeting over dinner and decided to put the plan into action. The idea to establish the TübingenNeuroCampus became more concrete, and the dinner guests would become its founding group.

The position of the coordinator was filled in May, and two months later, on July 19, 2018, the TNC was officially inaugurated in a foundation ceremony with welcoming speeches from newly elected speaker Thomas Gasser and Prof. Dr. Peter Grathwohl, vice-president for research and innovation at the University of Tübingen, several short talks, and a champagne reception and get-together afterwards.

Thomas Gasser and Peter Grathwohl with the inaugu-ration certificate
(BMF Photographie)

Get Together after the Foundation Ceremony
BMF Photographie)

Priority Activities

In order to help create the best possible environment for excellence in the neurosciences, the TNC identified several priority goals for its activities in the next two years:

  1. Improving communication and exchange within the neuroscience community and adjacent research fields with the objective of a strategic development of Tübingen as an internationally recognized research hub through regular events in various formats (lectures with external speakers, symposia, and workshops).
  2. Coordination and harmonization of the graduate training in Tübingen. The Graduate Training Centre for Neuroscience (GTC) and other graduate programs will be further developed, so that they each retain their characteristic profiles but together provide a broad portfolio of educational opportunities for the entire neurosciences in Tübingen.
  3. The TNC will promote the development of novel experimental methodologies and innovative research strategies across the entire spectrum of the neurosciences. It will implement novel means of exchange between groups on the campus, exploiting the unparalleled diversity in methodologies and research topics in Tübingen.
  4. Translation & Innovation. The TNC will foster developments in diagnostics and therapy as well as support technological innovations and industry cooperations.

Neuro Campus Initiatives

The TNC relies on the self-motivated activity of neuroscientists, who can form Neuro Campus Initiatives (NCIs), in order to promote the priority goals of the TNC as well as their own research fields.

There are currently three established NCIs:

1) “Single cell transcriptomics of intact neural tissues and data science challenges”, initiated by founding members Philipp Berens, Thomas Euler and Peter Heutink 

 2) “Molecular and Functional Neuroimaging” initiated by Dr. Kristina Herfert (Werner Siemens Imaging Center)

3) “Pregnancy and Brain Development” initiated by Dr. Simone Mayer (Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research

Everyone who is interested in these research areas is welcome to join them.

First TNC Research Day on June 27th 2019

The first TNC Research Day drew more than 140 students, PhD students, postdocs and scientists to the Institute for Medical Microbiology and Virology and the Institute for Ophthalmic Research in Tübingen during a hot summer day on June 27th, 2019. They experienced a day full of talks, an interactive session, six workshops, a poster session and a get-together afterwards.

“The TNC Research Day provided the Tübingen neuro community with the great opportunity to exchange information on current projects and possible future collaborations. The day proved to be very successful in my opinion,” said Thomas Gasser.

Today, the TNC consists of more than 150 PIs working in more than 100 research groups in 12 partner institutes (Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience (BCCN), Center for Mental Health, Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN), Centre for Neurosensory Systems, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Graduate Training Center of Neuroscience (GTC), Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research (HIH), Institute for Ophthalmic Research, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Natural and Medical Sciences Institute Reutlingen (NMI), University Hospital Tübingen and the University of Tübingen.

With new formats starting this fall, like the “TNC Elevator Pitches”, where PIs will have the opportunity to pitch in 3-5 minutes their ideas for innovative projects, novel technologies, or other interesting research areas that they are currently working on, the TNC will continue to improve exchange and communication within the neuroscience community and will contribute to the University of Tübingen’s excellence status in the future.

Silke Dutz is working as scientific coordinator of the TübingenNeuroCampus.


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