Robert Konrad Naumann

Robert Konrad Naumann

PhD, Principal investigator
The evolution of functional circuits in the cerebral cortex.
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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. Balsamo G, Blanco-Hernandez E, Liang F, Naumann RK, Coletta S, Burgalossi A, Preston-Ferrer P. (2022). Modular microcircuits support head-direction activity in the mouse presubiculum. Cell Reports, 39(2), 110684.
  1. Ding L, Balsamo G, Chen H, Zouridis I, Naumann RK, Preston-Ferrer P, Burgalossi A. (2022). Juxtacellular opto-tagging of hippocampal CA1 neurons in freely-moving mice. eLife, 11, e71720.
  1. FangC, Wang H, Naumann RK. (2021). Developmental Patterning and Neurogenetic Gradients of Nurr1 Positive Neurons in the Rat Claustrum and Lateral Cortex. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 15:786329.
  1. Ray S, Li M, Koch SP, Mueller S, Boehm-Sturm P, Wang H, Brecht M,Naumann RK. (2020). Seasonal plasticity in the adult somatosensory cortex. PNAS. 117(50):32136-44.
  1. Naumann RK, Laurent G. (2020). Function and Evolution of the Reptilian Cerebral Cortex. InEvolutionary of Neuroscience Academic Press.
  1. Naumann RK*, Preston-FerrerP*, Brecht M, Burgalossi A. (2018). Structural and Functional Modularity of the Medial Entorhinal Cortex. Journal of Neurophysiology, 119(6), 2129-2144.
  1. Tosches MA*, Yamawaki TM*, Naumann RK, Jacobi AA, Tushev G, & Laurent G. (2018). Evolution of pallium, hippocampus, and cortical cell types revealed by single-cell transcriptomics in reptiles. Science, May 25;360(6391), 881-888.
  1. Ray S, Burgalossi A, Brecht M,Naumann RK. (2017). Complementary Modular Microcircuits of the Rat Medial Entorhinal Cortex. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 11.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.