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Andreas K. Engel

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Andreas Karl Engel (born 7 January 1961) is a German neuroscientist. He is the director of the Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE).


Andreas Engel studied medicine and philosophy at Saarland University, Homburg, at the Technical University of Munich, and at the Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany.[1][2][3][4] After his medical exams (German Staatsexamen), he received his Doctor of Medicine (Dr. med.) from the Technical University Munich in 1987.

In 1987–1995 Engel was a post-doctoral fellow with Wolf Singer at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt, Germany. From 1996-2000, Engel headed a research group at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research which was funded by the Heisenberg Program of the German Research Foundation (DFG). Between fall 1997 and summer 1998, he also was affiliated as a Daimler-Benz Fellow to the Berlin Institute for Advanced Study.

From 2000-2002, he worked at the Jülich Research Centre as head of the Cellular Neurobiology Group at the Institute for Medicine. In 2002, he was appointed to the Chair of Neurophysiology at the UKE. Engel is a member of the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg. Since 2011, he is the coordinator of Collaborative Research Centre SFB 936 "Multi-Site Communication in the Brain" (with C. Gerloff, Dept. of Neurology, UKE).[5]


Andreas Engel has become known by his work on the so-called "binding problem".[6][7] His research focuses on the hypothesis that temporal synchrony serves for dynamic coordination of signals in the brain. In addition to working on the experimental validation of this hypothesis, Engel pursues research on its cognitive and theoretical implications.

As a postdoctoral researcher with Wolf Singer at the Max Planck Institute, Engel was involved in studies that demonstrated the relevance of neural synchrony, in particular of so-called gamma waves, for processing of perceptual information. In particular, the group provided evidence that temporal correlations can serve for the binding of features into coherent sensory representations.[8] In addition to addressing the relevance of synchrony and neuronal oscillations in the visual system, the work of Engel's group yielded evidence for a relation between neural synchrony and visual awareness. In addition, Engel and coworkers contributed to demonstrating a functional role of neural synchrony for sensorimotor coupling.

In the past 15 years, Engel's group has expanded their work to the human brain, using EEG and MEG in combination with source modeling techniques.[9] The results of these studies demonstrate the importance of neuronal oscillations and synchrony for perceptual processing,[10][11] attention,[12] working memory,[13] decision-making and consciousness.[14][15][16] Recent work of the group on the interaction of visual, auditory and tactile systems suggests a role of temporal binding for multisensory integration.[17] The group has developed novel methods for the electrophysiological analysis of resting state network activity.[18] Engel's group also applies these approaches for the study of network malfunction in patients with movement disorders, multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia, in studies on pain, and altered networks after early sensory deprivation.[19] Engel also explores implications of these neurophysiogical results for theories of perception, cognition and action.[20] A major focus of his work are the implications of the studies on neural synchrony for understanding the neural correlates of consciousness. Recent papers address links between neural dynamics and enactive views of cognition,[21] investigating the grounding of cognition in sensorimotor coupling.[22]

Honors and awards[edit]

Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ VIAF: 160232314
  2. ^ website of Andreas K. Engel
  3. ^ Google Scholar
  4. ^ Neurotree
  5. ^ See database of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and website of the SFB 936
  6. ^ See Treisman A (April 1996). "The binding problem". Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 6 (2): 171–8. doi:10.1016/s0959-4388(96)80070-5. PMID 8725958. S2CID 8643357.
  7. ^ von der Malsburg, C (1999). "The what and why of binding: the modeler's perspective". Neuron. 24 (1): 95–104, 111–125. doi:10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80825-9. PMID 10677030. S2CID 7057525.
  8. ^ Reviewed e.g. by Tallon-Baudry C, Bertrand O (1999). "Oscillatory gamma activity in humans and its role in object representation". Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 3 (4): 151–162. doi:10.1016/S1364-6613(99)01299-1. PMID 10322469. S2CID 1308261.
  9. ^ See e.g. Michel, CM; Muray, MM; Lantz, G; Gonzalez, S; Spinelli, L; Grave de Peralta, R (2004). "EEG source imaging". Clinical Neurophysiology. 115 (10): 2195–2222. doi:10.1016/j.clinph.2004.06.001. PMID 15351361. S2CID 14860994.
  10. ^ See Singer, W (2011). "Dynamic formation of functional networks by synchronization". Neuron. 69 (2): 191–193. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2011.01.008. PMID 21262459.
  11. ^ Welberg, L (2011). "Networking improves performance". Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 12 (3): 121. doi:10.1038/nrn3005. PMID 21433323. S2CID 28046079.
  12. ^ Fries, P (2009). "Neuronal gamma-band synchronization as a fundamental process in cortical computation". Annual Review of Neuroscience. 32: 209–224. doi:10.1146/annurev.neuro.051508.135603. PMID 19400723. S2CID 6281165.
  13. ^ Fell, J; Axmacher, N (2011). "The role of phase synchronization in memory processes". Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 12 (2): 105–118. doi:10.1038/nrn2979. PMID 21248789. S2CID 7422401.
  14. ^ See Gross, J; Ploner, M (2009). "Perceptual decisions: from sensory signals to behavior". Current Biology. 19 (18): R847–R849. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.07.023. PMID 19788877. S2CID 11459886.
  15. ^ See Maia, TV; Cleeremans, A (2005). "Consciousness: converging insights from connectionist modeling and neuroscience". Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 9 (8): 397–404. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2005.06.016. PMID 16005677. S2CID 16667754.
  16. ^ Mudrik, L; Faivre, N; Koch, C (2014). "Information integration without awareness". Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 18 (9): 488–496. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2014.04.009. PMID 24933626. S2CID 3618710.
  17. ^ Discussed in Sarko, DK; Ghose, D; Wallace, MT (2013). "Convergent approaches toward the study of multisensory perception". Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. 7: 81. doi:10.3389/fnsys.2013.00081. PMC 3820972. PMID 24265607.
  18. ^ Hipp, JF; Hawellek, D; Corbetta, M; Siegel, M; Engel, AK (2012). "Large-scale cortical correlation structure of spontaneous oscillatory activity". Nature Neuroscience. 15 (6): 884–890. doi:10.1038/nn.3101. PMC 3861400. PMID 22561454.
  19. ^ Discussed in Uhlhaas, P; Singer, W (2012). "Neuronal dynamics and neuropsychiatric disorders: Toward a translational paradigm for dysfunctional large-scale networks". Neuron. 75 (6): 963–980. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2012.09.004. PMID 22998866.
  20. ^ Reviewed e.g. Uhlhaas, PJ; Pipa, G; Lima, B; Melloni, L; Neuenschwander, S; Nikolić, D; Singer, W (2009). "Neural synchrony in cortical networks: history, concept and current status". Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. 3: 17. doi:10.3389/neuro.07.017.2009. PMC 2723047. PMID 19668703.
  21. ^ As developed by O'Regan JK, Noë A (October 2001). "A sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness". The Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 24 (5): 939–73, discussion 973–1031. doi:10.1017/s0140525x01000115. PMID 12239892. S2CID 22606536.
  22. ^ See e.g. Buhrmann, T; DiPaolo, EA; Barandiaran, X (2013). "A dynamical systems account of sensorimotor contingencies". Frontiers in Psychology. 4 (285): 285. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00285. PMC 3664438. PMID 23750143.

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