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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2020/21 Prof. Dr. Ulrich G. Hofmann

Prof. Dr. Ulrich G. Hofmann

Universitätsklinikum Freiburg
Neural Engineering, Translational Neurosciences
Internal Senior Fellow
October 2015 - September 2017

Phone +49 (0) 761-270 50076


My academic career started with studies in applied physics at the TU München in 1987.  There I received my PhD in 1996 in (bio)physics with work on bio-hybrid semiconductor sensors and ultra thin layers. I undertook post-doctoral research at the Åbo Akademi in Turku, Finland and at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA as a Feodor-Lynen-Fellow till 1998. From there I moved to the University of Lübeck to found my own research group on biosignal processing and neural engineering, where I was habilitated in the Computer Science Department  2003 with projects on silicon multisite micro electrodes and personal health monitoring systems. It was there, where I was awarded the title „Professor“ in 2008. Since 2012 I am heading the Section for Neuroelectronic Systems of the University Medical Center Freiburg as endowed Peter-Osypka-Professor. In 2015 I was honored by the FRIAS-USIAS fellowship and the University of Rhode Island’s „Distinguished International Scholar“. The Cluster of Excellence „Brainlinks-Braintools“ and the Speman Graduate School for Medicine and Biology both list me as principal investigator ins some of their projects.
I am currently co-editor for „Frontiers in Neuroscience: Section Neural Technology“, was co-editing „Cognitive Neurodynamics“ for seven years and act as reviewer for numerous journals and funding agencies. 
My mentoring encompassed more than 60 master thesis, 16 PhD thesis and 4 startup companies.

Selected Publications

  • Kirch, R.D., R. Pinnell, O. Christ, U.G. Hofmann, and J.C. Cassel, The Double-H Maze: A Robust Behavioral Test for Learning and Memory in Rodents. J Visualized Experiments, 2015.
  • Xie, Y., T. Heida, J. Stegenga, Y. Zhao, A. Moser, V. Tronnier, T.J. Feuerstein, and U.G. Hofmann, High frequency electrical stimulation suppresses cholinergic accumbens interneurons in acute rat brain slices through GABAB receptors. Europ. J. Neuroscience, 2014. Vol. 40, pp. 3653–3662.
  • Xie, Y., N. Martini, C. Hassler, R.D. Kirch, T. Stieglitz, A. Seifert, and U.G. Hofmann, In vivo monitoring of glial scar proliferation on chronically implanted neural electrodes by fiber optical coherence tomography. Frontiers in Neuroengineering, 2014.
  • Mottaghi, S. and U. G. Hofmann (2015). Dynamically Adjusted Scalable Electrical Stimulator for Exciteable Tissue. 7th Int'l IEEE EMBS Neural Engineering Conference -NER 2015, eds. David Guiraud, Nigel Lovell, Montpellier, IEEE.
  • Ramrath, L., U. G. Hofmann and A. Schweikard (2008). A Robotic Assistant for Stereotactic Neurosurgery on Small Animals. Int. Journal on Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery, 4(4), 295-303.



Deep brain stimulation of the ventral midline thalamus to boost memory vividness over time

Memories hold where we come from, define who we are and construct our projects. Beside other cognitive implications (strategy selection, encoding of memory details), the reuniens and rhomboid nuclei of the ventral midline of the thalamus play a crucial role in consolidation of memories at systems-level, hence in their persistence. This is related to their connectivity with the medial prefontal cortex (mPFC) and the hippocampus. Our project will focus on the interplay between the ventral midline nuclei rhomboid and reuniens and memory functions, which are dependent on their reciprocal connections with the hippocampus and mPFC. Our hypothesis is that the precision or/and vividness over time of recent memory traces will be differentially affected by electrical stimulation of the nucleus rhomboid/reuniens due to the effects of DBS. The project aims to i) refine the targeting of the rhomboid and reuniens nuclei in a rat model, ii) develop and construct flexible stimulation devices, iii) set up stimulation parameters for DBS, iv) test these parameters in the rat model and measure their effects using functional imaging (immediate early gene expression), electrophysiological recording and memory tests (in the double-H and Morris water mazes). Knowledge gained from this study may provide a platform for recovery of function approaches in humans suffering amnesia as a consequence of e.g., stroke or neurodegenerative diseases