Who We Are

Sandra Naumann (she/her)

I am currently enrolled as a doctoral candidate at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain which belongs to the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Within my doctoral project, I examine the effectiveness of digital prevention programs to foster socio-emotional competences on preschoolers’ behavior and brain circuits. When I am not devoting my time to research, I foster my mental health with traveling and the fine art of baking. 


Majed Kikhia (he/him)

I am currently a fellow in the Einstein Center for Neurosciences and doing my PhD in the Experimental Neurology Department at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. In my PhD project, I investigate the role of myeloid cells in the immunological response after ischemic stroke. My motivation for working on mental health in academia is to motivate bottom-up changes to make the research environment healthier and more joyful for scientists.    


MagdaLena Matyjek (she/her)

I am interested in social neuropsychology and am currently a PhD candidate at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. In my doctoral project I aim to better understand how autism spectrum conditions and autistic traits influence sensitivity to social and non-social rewards. After work, to wind down and relax, I like to crochet, paint, and create little projects with arts & crafts!


Luisa A. Hasam-Henderson (she/her)

For a long time I have been intrigued by the black box that is the brain. During my Master’s and PhD at Charité-Universitätsmedizin I studied pathophysiological processes involved in the progression of diseases like epilepsy and schizophrenia. Currently, I am developing digital applications with therapeutic potential. I really enjoy being surrounded by nature, reading, and eating delicious food.


Lara Wieland (she/her)

I am a PhD candidate and interested in computational psychiatry, more specifically in reward learning with relevance to schizophrenia. I am also currently training to become a clinical therapist to combine theory and practice, which is another reason why mental health is an important topic to me. For my own mental health I like to swing dance, cook and explore Berlin by bike.


Anna-Lena Eckert (she/her)

In my PhD with the ECN and the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, I am looking at computational models of perceptual phenomena in psychosis. Besides research, I have a passion for all things mental health, which is why I will soon start training to become a licensed psychotherapist. I am a first-generation academic and very interested in the special challenges and opportunities us first-gens are dealing with. I’m a passionate runner and love to explore my favourite city on long runs.


Lynn Schmittwilken (she/her)

I am a PhD student at the Science of Intelligence cluster at the Technical University Berlin. Within my PhD, I am interested in models of early vision. In particular, I am trying to investigate the relevance of fixational eye movements for encoding visual information in space and time. Seeing the emotional struggles of graduate students, I want to raise more awareness for mental health issues in academia and help PhD students to achieve a healthier work-life-balance. In my free time, I enjoy having a good glass of wine with friends, doing some sports or playing computer games.


Katharina Bögl (she/her)

I am PhD student at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain and a member of the research training group “Extrospection. External access to higher cognitive processes”. My research project focuses on how we understand our own and other minds and how this might be altered in autism spectrum conditions. I am part of this initiative because I didn’t want to continue watching how my friends and colleagues suffered from mental health problems caused by the toxic academic system. To detox myself, I love to meet friends or to be outside in nature.


Jana Verbancic (she/her)

I’m a joint PhD student between the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology/University of Potsdam and The University of Melbourne, where I try to decipher the molecular mechanisms of how plants regulate cellulose synthesis and environmental factors that impact it. As being an international student brought me a lot around the world, I could notice that PhD students, not only in Germany but everywhere, are struggling, and this was even more exaggerated through the pandemic. I took great interest into the topic of student mental health and therefore trying to help and make others aware of the ever increasing problems in academia. I’m a yoga-enthusiast and love to hike, travel, do calligraphy, organize and procrastinate.


Antje Riepenhausen (she/her) 

I am PhD candidate at Charite – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Berlin School of Mind and Brain, my research focus being on stress resilience and emotion regulation. I am particularly interested in timely preventing mental health problems and I think that raising awareness for existing systemic risk factors and providing strategies for stressed PhD students are crucial for mental health prevention in academia. In my free time, I practice yoga, sing in a choir, do analog photography, and like to spend time in nature.