Functional and Comparative Neuroanatomy

Mapping the Body-Mind Interface

The brain evolved around the most primitive and vital energetic needs of the body. It is therefore not surprising that even our most sophisticated brain functions are directly shaped by the central integration of sensory afferent signals representing bodily states or interoception. In anthropoid primates, a phylogenetically-novel pathway conveys these signals to  the insular cortex. In humans, the anterior insular cortex, which is disproportionately enlarged compared to other species, interfaces interoception with salient environmental cues, engendering emotional feelings and shaping cognitive processes, including perceptual awareness, fluid intelligence, and thoughts. Our group combines multiple experimental approaches to examine the anatomical and functional organization of the insular cortex and its network partners including the cingulate cortex.

From Genes to Circuits, to Behavior, to Translation

Our research strategy encompasses a comprehensive set of complimentary methods that will allow us to manipulate (chemo-)genetically specific sets of neurons, brain circuits and bodily parameters during neuronal recording, functional neuroimaging, and behavior. Our group also uses comparative/translational approaches.

International group

Our group benefits from a unique trans-institutional and trans-national situation, with physical locations not only at the CIN but also at the C-BIN of the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research (Orangeburg, NY, USA) and the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (Tuebingen, Germany). Each location specializes in a different aspect of our projects. We also have two very active collaborations, with the groups of Nenad Sestan at the Yale School of Medicine and of Wim Vanduffel at the University of Leuven.

Teaching Neuroanatomy at Tübingen’s GTC

Each year, we teach neuroanatomy to the master students of Graduate Training Center (GTC) and International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS). The course proposes an intense week of lectures and human brain dissections.

Selected publications


06.01.2020 - Anahit Amiri. Welcome to Anahit who will be doing a 1-month internship in our group in the context of the Tuebingen and Aix-Marseille CIVIS exchange program.

04.01.2020 - Co-author on a new brain atlas. Henry is working with George Paxinos and Michael Petrides on the 4th edition of the Rhesus Monkey Brain in Stereotaxic Coordinates, becoming one of the three cover authors of this emblematic brain atlas. Release scheduled in 2020.

04.01.2020 - African Collaborative Science Symposium. For the second year since she conceived this project, Renee Hartig, one of our group member and a course director for the non-profit TReND in Africa, leads scientists from Tuebingen, Los Angeles and Temple, Florida, for a 10-days series of lectures  (e.g. computer programming, experimental design, and grant writing)  offered by her team to undergraduate and graduate students in sub-Sahara Africa.

18.12.2019 - 4-year FWO grant approved (600K). This grant supports our collaboration on the neural basis of emotional embodiment with the University of Leuven, Belgium.

10.12.2019 – Congratulations to Renee Hartig! Renee completed an excellent thesis on insular interotopy, studied using fMRI and electrophysiology. While starting a post-doc at Mainz, she will continue joining our efforts at NKI and KUL.

12.09.2019 – Congratulations to Felicitas Horn!  Feli completed a beautiful neuroanatomical thesis on the distribution of the von Economo neuron across species. She is moving to Munich to complete her medical studies.

11.09.2019 – Congratulations to Jennifer Smuda!  Jenny completed a challenging and timely-needed thesis on the central effects of bilateral insular stimulation, using concurrent fMRI and Direct Electrical Stimulation. Jenny is joining our efforts at the MPIBC, readying her work for publication and looking into our NET-fMRI data.

Group Leader and Further Information

Henry Evrard
Functional and Comparative Neuroanatomy
Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience
Otfried-Mueller-Str. 25
72076 Tübingen

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