Jun.-Prof. Dr. Monika Schönauer - Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizewinner 2021
Neuropsychology, University of Freiburg
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Monika Schönauer
© Patrick Seeger
An engram is an experiential impression that leaves a memory trace in the brain; human memory is made up of the totality of all engrams. Together with her DFG-funded Emmy Noether Junior Research Group, Junior Professor Monika Schönauer is investigating the development of the engram and the process of memory consolidation during wakefulness and sleep using imaging techniques. In a highly regarded publication, Schönauer showed, among other things, that just one hour after a learning episode, brain structural changes in the neocortex occur that fulfil all the criteria of a memory engram. This contradicted the prevailing assumption in memory research that neocortical memory representation is established only slowly and through frequent reactivation of hippocampal activation patterns. Having conducted postdoctoral research in Princeton and Tübingen, Schönauer was awarded the 2019 Leopoldina Early Career Award.