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Prof. Dr. med. Michael N. Smolka

Research focus

  • Neuro-cognitive mechanisms underlying the development, maintenance and recovery from addictive behavior: Decision making, instrumental and Pavlovian learning, motivation, executive function
  • Computational models of addictive behavior
  • Brain imaging
  • Prospective cohort studies

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​Official position 



Section of Systems Neuroscience, Medical Faculty, TU Dresden
Faculty of Psychology, TU Dresden

Business address 

Würzburger Straße 35
01187 Dresden, Germany

Academic education and degrees

​1982 - 1984

Physics, Universität Heidelberg

​1984 - 1992

​Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Staatsexamen 1992


Medical Dissertation, “Zur Evaluation der Bech-Rafaelsen Melancholie-Skala”, Freie Universität Berlin, thesis supervisor: Prof. Dr. med. Helmchen & Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Rolf-Dieter Stieglitz


​Habilitation in Psychiatry, Universität Heidelberg, mentor: Prof. Dr. med. Karl Mann


Professional career

1994 - 2001

Residency in Psychiatry and Neurology, Research fellow in Psychiatry, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

​2001 - 2006

Senior researcher, attending, Department of Addictive Behaviour and Addiction medicine, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany

​Since 2007

Head Section of Systems Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany

​Since 2009

Full Professor (W2) for Systems Neuroscience, Medical Faculty, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany

​Since 2010

Co-opted Professor at the Faculty of Psychology, TU Dresden


Honors, awards and positions


Medical doctor theses award of the W.E.-Heraeus Foundation


Human Brain Mapping Editor's Choice Award for best paper published in 2010

​Since 2012

Member managing committee Collaborative Research Center (SFB 940): “Volition and Cognitive Control: Mechanisms, Modulators, Dysfunctions”

​Since 2016

Deputy Spokesperson Collaborative Research Centre 940 (SFB 940)

​Since 2019

Local Spokesperson Dresden Collaborative Research Center 265 (TRR 265):
“Losing and Regaining Control over Drug Intake: From Trajectories to Mechanisms to Interventions”


Current journal editorial positions

​Since 2008

​Addiction Biology

​Since 2009



10 most important peer-reviewed papers (10 out of 320; h-index: 54, Scopus)

  1. Bühler M, Vollstädt-Klein S, Kobiella A, Budde H, Reed LJ … Smolka MN. Nicotine dependence is characterized by disordered reward processing in a network driving motivation. Biol Psychiatry. 2010;67(8):745-52.

  2. Gan G, Guevara A, Marxen M, Schwarz D, Neumann M … Smolka MN. Alcohol-induced impairment of inhibitory control is linked to attenuated brain responses in right fronto-temporal cortex. Biol Psychiatry. 2014;76(9):698-707.

  3. Gan G, Sterzer P, Marxen M, Zimmermann US, Smolka MN. Neural and behavioral correlates of alcohol-induced aggression under provocation. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2015;40(13):2886-96.

  4. Javadi AH, Schmidt DH, Smolka MN. Adolescents adapt more slowly than adults to varying reward contingencies. J Cogn Neurosci. 2014;26(12):2670-81.

  5. Kroemer NB, Guevara A, Teodorescu IC, Wuttig F, Kobiella A, Smolka MN. Balancing reward and work: Anticipatory brain activation in nacc and vta predict effort differentially. NeuroImage. 2014;102:510-9.

  6. Kroemer NB, Lee Y, Pooseh S, Eppinger B, Goschke T, Smolka MN. L-dopa reduces model-free control of behavior by attenuating the transfer of value to action. NeuroImage. 2019;186:113-25.

  7. Müller KU, Mennigen E, Ripke S, Banaschewski T, Barker GJ … Smolka MN. Altered reward processing in adolescents with prenatal exposure to maternal cigarette smoking. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(8):847-56.

  8. Petzold J, Kienast A, Lee Y, Pooseh S, London ED … Smolka MN. Baseline impulsivity may moderate l-dopa effects on value-based decision-making. Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):5652.

  9. Pilhatsch M, Vetter N, Hübner T, Ripke S, Müller KU … Smolka MN. Amygdala-function perturbations in healthy mid-adolescents with familial liability for depression. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2014;53(4):559-68.

  10. Pooseh S, Bernhardt N, Guevara A, Huys QJM, Smolka MN. Value-based decision-making battery: A bayesian adaptive approach to assess impulsive and risky behavior. Behavior Research Methods. 2018;50(1):236-49.

Semmelweisstraße 10, Haus 13
04103 Leipzig
0341 - 97 24539