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Prof. Dr. med. Arno Villringer, Professor of Cognitive Neurology

Research focus

  • ​​​​​Mind-Brain-Body interactions
  • Behavioural and psychological aspects of risk factors (hypertension, stress, obesity) for psychiatric and neurological diseases.
  • Multimodal brain imaging (integrating (f)MRI, PET, (M)EEG, fNIRS, TMS, TDCS)
  • ​​Assessment of large (local) cohort studies (LIFE, LEMON) and big data (UK-Biobank, German national cohort)

Official position

Director, Department of Neurology, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Director, Department of Cognitive Neurology, Leipzig University Hospital, Professor of Cognitive Neurology, Leipzig University, Spokesperson, (national) Max Planck School of Cognition, Director, MindBrainInstitute @Berlin School of Mind and Brain​


Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig
Leipzig University Hospital, Leipzig University
MindBrainInstitute @Berlin School of Mind and Brain​

Business address

Stephanstr. 1a
04103 Leipzig

Academic education and degrees

1977 - 1984

Medical School, Albert Ludwig University Freiburg, Germany


Doctorate in Molecular Biology (supervisor Professor Dr P.C. Heinrich), M.D., Albert Ludwig University Freiburg, Germany (summa cum laude)


​Board Certification in Neurology


​Habilitation in Neurology (mentors Prof. Dr. Karl M. Einhäupl, Professor Dr Thomas Brandt), Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Germany​


Professional career

1980 - 1981


Experimental work for​ MD thesis Albert Ludwig University Freiburg, Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology Laboratory of Professor Dr P. C. Heinrich, Germany:


Postdoc at NMR Unit, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA: Fellow at NMR Unit.  ​With Professor Dr Bruce Rosen and Professor Dr Tom Brady​​​


​1986 - 1988,
1989 - 1992

​Resident at Department of Neurology, Klinikum Großhadern, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (Professor Dr Th. Brandt)​​


​Resident at Department of Psychiatry, Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich (Professor Dr H. Hippius)​​

​1992 - 1993

​Research & Clinical Fellow, Department of Neurology, Klinikum Großhadern, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (Professor Dr Th. Brandt)

​1993 - 1996

​Consultant Physician (Oberarzt), Department of Neurology, Charité University Medicine Berlin (Professor Dr Karl M. Einhäupl)

​1996 - 2004

​Vice Chairman, Department of Neurology, Charité University Medicine Berlin (Chairman Professor Dr Karl M. Einhäupl)​

​1996 - 2007​​

​C3 Professor of Neurology, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Dep. Neurolo​gy

​1999 - 2004

​Clinical supervisor of 30-bed neurology clinic, Campus Virchow, Charité University Medicine Berlin ​​​

​2004 - 2007

​Head of 53-bed neurology clinic, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité University Medicine ​​

​Since 2006

​Founding Director, Academic Director Berlin School of Mind and Brain (funded within German Excellence Initiative)​

​Since 2007

​Director and Scientific Member, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Germany

Since 2007

​Director, Clinic of Cognitive Neurology, Leipzig University Hospital​

​Since 2008

​Honorary Professor at Charité University Medicine Berlin

​Since 2009

​Director, MindBrainBody Institute @ Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-University

​Since 2009

​Professor for Cognitive Neurology, Leipzig University

​Since 2016

​Adjunct Professor, Medical University of Vienna, Austria

Since 2018​

Founder and Spokesperson, (national) Max Planck School of Cognition

Honors, awards and positions


Gerhard He​ss Prize (German Research Organization)


Endowed Professorship ("C3", DFG) as head of clinical research group (New methods for noninvasive functional brain assessment)


Winner in national competition for nine national competence networks (Coordinator of nation-wide competence network stroke)​


​1999 - 2003

Program-Committee of International Organisation for Human Brain ​Mapping (OHBM) (1999- 2003, Chair 2001-2002)


​Winner in national competition for five Neuroimaging  Centers in Germany (as coordinator of Berlin NeuroImaging Center)​​​


Winner in national Excellency Program Competition (as lead-PI and Speaker of "Berlin School of Mind and Brain")

​2005 - 2008

​Council Member, International Organisation for Human Brain Mapping ​(OHBM) (2005-2008, 2006-2007: Treasurer)​


Pater Leander Fischer Prize of German Laser Society ​​


​Member of "Wissenschaftliche Kommission" of the State Lower Saxony

(Evaluation of Göttingen Medical Faculty)


Chair of Evaluation Commission for Austrian Clinical Neurosciences​​​

​2013 - 2016

Supervisory board of Humboldt Graduate School, Humboldt-Universität Berlin​​

​Since 2014

Advisory Board: BioTechMed Graz, Austria (program of 3 universities)​​

​Since 2014

Deputy Director, Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Aging Research​​​

​Since 2016

​Adjunct Professor at Medical University of Vienna, Austria​​

19​​96 – 2002

​Lead PI and Coordin​ator: Clinical Research Group (DFG): New Methods for Noninvasive Diagnostics of the Brain

​Since 1999

​​Coordinator: German Competence Network Stroke​, Berlin (BMBF)

​2000 - 2008

​Lead PI and coordinator: Berlin NeuroImaging Center (BMBF)​​​

​Since 2008

​Board of Directors: L​​eipziger Forschungszentrum für Zivilisationskrankheiten [Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases] (LIFE) ​​​​

​Since 2010

PI  (Board of Direc​tors 2013-2016) Integrated Research and Treatment Center (IFB) Adiposity Diseases​​​

​Since 2011

​​Deputy Director: Research Initiative MPS-UCL Max Planck Center: ComputationalPsychiatry and Aging Research

​2012 - 2019

​PI: NeuroCure, Research Cluster of Excellence (German Excellence Initiative), Berlin, Germany

​​Since 2013

Steering Committee: Collaborative Research Center (CRC, “Sonderforschungsbereich” )Obesity Mechanism, Leipzig, Germany

​2005 - present

International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course​​​, Berlin

​2006 - present

Spokesperson, Berlin School of Mind & Brain, Germany

​2013 - 2020
2020 - present

Spokesper​​​son,International Max Planck Research School NeuroCom ​​Member of Faculty 

​2016 - present

​Einstein Center Neurosciences (Berlin)​​

​2018 - present

​​Spokesperson national Max Planck School of Cognition 

​2010 - 2018

​Max Planck International Research Network on Aging​​ (MaxNetAging), Rostock, Germany: Faculty Member ​​​

​2018 - present

​I​​nternational Max Planck Research School COMP2PSYCH​

2018 - present

​Research T​raining Group 2386, Extrospection. External Access to Higher Cognitive Processes

Current Journal Editorial positions 

Since 2004

Editorial Board: Neurodegenerative Diseases

​Since 2017

Editorial Board: Brain and Neuroscience Advances

​Since 2020

Review Editor: Frontiers in Neuroenergetics, Nutrition and Brain Health

10 most important peer-reviewed papers (10 out of 556, Scopus h-index: 85)

  1. Al E, Iliopoulos F, Forschack N, Nierhaus T, Grund M, Motyka P, Gaebler M, Nikulin VV, Villringer A (2020). Heart-brain interactions shape somatosensory perception and evoked potentials. Proc Natl Acad Sci 27:201915629.

  2. Mueller K, Thiel F, Beutner F, Teren A, Frisch S, Ballarini T, Möller HE, Ihle K, Thiery J, Schuler G, Villringer A, Schroeter ML (2020). Brain Damage With Heart Failure: Cardiac Biomarker Alterations and Gray Matter Decline. Circ Res 126:750-764.

  3. Schaare HL, Kharabian Masouleh S, Beyer F, Kumral D, Uhlig M, Reinelt JD, Reiter AMF, Lampe L, Babayan A, Erbey M, Roebbig J, Schroeter ML, Okon-Singer H, Müller K, Mendes N, Margulies DS, Witte AV, Gaebler M, Villringer A (2019). Association of peripheral blood pres-sure with gray matter volume in 19- to 40-year-old adults. Neurology 92(8):e758-e773.

  4. Lampe L, Zhang R, Beyer F, Huhn S, Kharabian Masouleh S, Preusser S, Bazin PL, Schroeter ML, Villringer A, Witte AV (2019). Visceral obesity relates to deep white matter hyperintensities via inflammation. Ann Neurol. 85:194-203.

  5. Martins MJ​​​D, Krause C, Neville DA, Pino D, Villringer A, Obrig H (2019). Recursive hierarchical embedding in vision is impaired by posterior middle temporal gyrus lesions. Brain. 142:3217-3229.

  6. Schlögl H, Horstmann A, Villringer A, Stumvoll M (2016). Functional neuroimaging in obesity and the potential for development of novel treatments. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 4:695-705.

  7. Okon-Singer H, Mehnert J, Hoyer J, Hellrung L, Schaare HL, Dukart J, Villringer A (2014). Neural control of vascular reactions: impact of emotion and attention. J Neurosci 34:4251-9

  8. Lv Y, Margulies DS, Cameron Craddock R, Long X, Winter B, Gierhake D, Endres M, Villringer K, Fiebach J, Villringer A. (2013) Identifying the perfusion deficit in acute stroke with resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Ann Neurol. 3:136-40.

  9. Schlögl H, Kabisch S, Horstmann A, Lohmann G, Müller K, Lepsien J, Busse-Voigt F, Kratzsch J, Pleger B, Villringer A, Stumvoll M (2013). Exenatide-induced reduction in energy intake is associated with increase in hypothalamic connectivity. Diabetes Care 36:1933-40

  10. Blankenburg F, Taskin B, Ruben J, Moosmann M, Ritter P, Curio G, Villringer A. (2003) Imperceptible Stimuli and Sensory Processing Impediment. Science. 299:1864.​

Foto: MPI_2019

Semmelweisstraße 10, Haus 13
04103 Leipzig
0341 - 97 24539