Robert Konrad Naumann

Robert Konrad Naumann

PhD, Principal investigator
The evolution of functional circuits in the cerebral cortex.


The human cerebral cortex is the most complex piece of matter in the universe. It is responsible for our most important cognitive functions, consciousness, and eventually, human civilization. Yet, the evolution and function of the cerebral cortex remains a mystery. The cerebral cortex is the part of the vertebrate brain that changed most dramatically inthe course of evolution. These changes are of central importance for translational research but remain poorly understood. Our goal is to unravel the complexity of the cortex using a combined developmental, evolutionary, and functional approach. We focus on the hippocampal formation; the evolutionary most conserved part of the cortex, which is also causally involved in a large number of neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, research in our laboratory aims to: (i) Identify evolutionary conserved circuits of the hippocampus in several vertebrate species including reptiles; (ii) Investigate the molecular and structural underpinnings of memory and spatial navigation circuits in the rodent hippocampus; (iii) Translate findings from simpler brains into an improved understanding of the human cortex.


Principal investigator at SIAT CAS since 2017
2014-2017, Postdoc, Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2009-2013, Humboldt-Universität Berlin, PhD.
2003-2008, Humboldt-University Berlin, BSc

Selected publications

1.Naumann RK, Laurent G. Function and Evolution of the Reptilian Cerebral Cortex. (2017). In Evolution of Nervous Systems 2E. Elsevier Publishing.

2.Tang, Q., Burgalossi, A., Ebbesen, C. L., Sanguinetti-Scheck, J. I., Schmidt, H., Tukker, J. J., Naumann R, ... & Brecht, M. (2016). Functional architecture of the rat parasubiculum. The Journal of Neuroscience, 36(7), 2289-2301.

3.Naumann RK*, Ray S*, Prokop S, Las L, Heppner F and Brecht M. (2016). Conserved Size and Geometry of Pyramidal Patches in Layer 2 of Medial/Caudal Entorhinal Cortex. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 524(4), 783-806.

4.Tang Q, Ebbesen C, Sanguinetti JI, Preston-Ferrer P, Gundlfinger A, Winterer J, Beed P, Ray S, Naumann R , Schmitz D, Brecht M and Burgalossi A. (2015). Anatomical organization and spatiotemporal firing patterns of layer 3 neurons in the rat medial entorhinal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(36), 12346-12354.

5.Naumann RK,Ondracek JM., Reiter S, Shein-Idelson M, Tosches MA, Yamawaki TM, & Laurent G. (2015). The reptilian brain. Current Biology, 25(8), R317-R321.

6.Tang Q, Burgalossi A, Ebbesen C, Ray S#, Naumann R, Spicher D, Schmidt H and Brecht M. (2014). Pyramidal and Stellate Cell-specificity of Grid and Border Representations in Layer 2 Medial Entorhinal Cortex. Neuron. 2014 Dec 17; 84(6): 1191–1197.

7.Ray S*,Naumann R*, Burgalossi A*, Tang Q*, Schmidt H and Brecht M. (2014). Grid-like arrangement and theta-modulation of a pyramidal cell microcircuit in layer 2 of medial entorhinal cortex. Science. Feb 21;343(6173):891-6.

8.Naumann RK, Anjum F, Roth-Alpermann C and Brecht M. (2012). Cytoarchitecture, areas, and neuron numbers of the Etruscan shrew cortex. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 520(11), 2512-2530.

9.Brecht M, Naumann R, Anjum F, Wolfe J, Munz M, Mende C, and Roth-Alpermann C. (2011). The neurobiology of Etruscan shrew active touch. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 366(1581), 3026-3036.