Mirac Nur Musaoğlu

P01 – Stress reactivity in relation to epigenetics of estrogen signaling during puberty

I obtained a medical degree (MD) from Koc University and am interested in molecular, hormonal and stress-related alterations leading to mental disorders.

Currently, I am investigating the hormonal and epigenetic changes in pubertal girls and associated alterations in stress response as a PhD researcher at IRTG2804: Women’s Mental Health Across the Reproductive Years.

Besides, I love art-house movies, dancing, yoga, and diving. 

Anna Denninger

P02 – Stress reactivity and stress regulation in relation to estradiol administration

My background is in cellular and molecular neuroscience and vision research. I was looking into behavioural and neuronal mechanisms of saccadic suppression in rhesus monkeys as well as humans.

Currently, I am a PhD student in Birgit Derntls Lab where I am working on associations between estradiol and stress reactivity. Together with my supervisors, Birgit Derntl and Lydia Kogler, I will be exploring how estradiol influences the stress response in naturally cycling and postmenopausal women after a psychosocial stressor. 

Outside of my research I enjoy gardening, any arts and crafts as well as going for long walks with my dogs. 

Madeleine Kördel

P03 – Stress reactivity and hormonal contraception

Madeleine Kördel is a PhD researcher under the supervision of Prof. Kroemer and Dr. Henes. Prior to her PhD, she studied psychology at the University of Würzburg and worked as a part-time research assistant, which sparked her interest for neuroscientific research.

During her PhD, she is going to investigate the neuropsychological effects of hormonal contraception use on mood homeostasis and stress responsivity. For this aim, she plans to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as well as the ecological momentary assessment method and other biopsychological measurements.

Outside of academia, Madeleine enjoys to go for a run along the Neckar River or to spend time with her friends and discovering new cafes and restaurants in Tübingen.

Elise Bücklein

P04 – Stress, inflammation and neuroimaging in major depressive disorder as compared to premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Elise Bücklein is a PhD researcher under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Andreas Fallgatter on stress, PMDD and depression in women. Before starting in Tübingen, she studied Psychology at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Universität Ulm, researching topics such as depression, women’s mental health, stress, and machine learning.

During her PhD she will compare the behavioral, neural, immunological, and endocrine profiles of women with major depressive disorder (MDD) to women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This research will provide the basis to develop more individualized treatments in the framework of precision psychiatry.

In her freetime she likes to climb up walls and sing songs at the piano.

Zsófia Karlócai

P05 – Dopamine and reward learning across hormonal transition phases

Zsofia Karlocai is a doctoral student under supervision of Prof. Dr. Nils Kroemer (UKT) and Dr. Andreas Frick (UU). Before she joined the IRTG2804, she worked as a research assistant at Uppsala University in Sweden where she investigated the neural correlates of reward learning in adults and adolescents.

In her current PhD project, she studies how dopamine and reward processing alters within the menstrual cycle in women. She studies effort allocation with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural mechanisms of motivation in primary and secondary reward cues.

Other than science, Zsofia is passionate about cooking and you can most likely find her hanging out with her friends either on the basketball court or somewhere in nature. 

Nina Röhm

P06 – Oxytocin and reward processing across hormonal transition phases

Nina Röhm is a PhD researcher in project P06 focussing on oxytocin and reward processing across hormonal transition phases under the supervision of Manfred Hallschmid and Christian Benedict. She will study the effects of intranasally administered oxytocin on the processing of different rewards in females across the menstrual cylce. Thereby she will examine the role of oxytocin in metabolism and sleep.

Nina studied medical computer science for her bachelor’s degree and joined the university of Tübingen to study cognitive science for her master’s being interested in interdisciplinary research.

In her freetime she likes to swim and play the saxophone.

Franziska Weinmar

P07 – Neuroendocrine regulators of psychosexual health

Franziska is a PhD student investigating neuroendocrine regulators of emotional, reward, and sexual processes across women’s reproductive years.


As part of her PhD project, she is investigating two major hormonal transition periods both on the neural and behavioral level. On the one hand, she is examining emotion regulation during pregnancy, assessed in a fMRI paradigm, as well as sexual health and affective symptoms, assessed in the Mom2B mobile application study in Uppsala. On the other hand, she is interested in characterizing reward behavior, sexual arousal and health in pre-, peri- and post-menopausalwomen with and without menopausal hormone therapy in a unique, cross-sectional fMRI study. 


Franziska graduated with a MSc in Neural and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Tübingen after finishing her BSc in Psychology from Leiden University in the Netherlands. 


Her curiosity about the interactions of behavior, nervous and endocrine systems was already sparked during a semester abroad at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, but her passion for psychoneuroendocrinology fully unfolded during later research projects on women’s mental health.


Outside of research, Franziska enjoys spending time with her family and friends, soaking up the sun outdoors, biking (obviously a Dutch influence), swimming, or doing yoga. She also loves a good cup of coffee or tea, listening to podcasts (a lot), and reading non-scientific literature.

Serenay Yazici Sarikaya

P08 – Anti-estrogenic therapy and psychosexual health

Serenay Yazici Sarikaya is a Ph.D. researcher under the supervision of Prof. Birgit Derntl (UT), Prof. Sara Brucker (UT), and Prof. Anna Wikmann (UU) at Tuebingen University. 

Before joining the IRTG, Serenay Yazici Sarikaya completed her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychosexology at Sapienza University in Rome. 

During her Ph.D., she will work on women diagnosed with breast cancer under treatment anti-estrogen therapy and investigate their brain architecture and psychosexual health.


Outside of research, she likes cooking, drinking coffee, spending time in nature & cycling!

Edita Karavidaj

P09 – Positive and negative effects of social media usage during puberty

Edita Karavidaj is a PhD researcher under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Tobias Renner, Prof. Tomas Furmark, and Dr. Isabel Brandhorst. 

She completed her Bachelor’s degree in combined majors of Psychology and Public Policy and her Master’s degree in Psychology of Mental Health. During her master’s degree, Edita researched topics such as social connectedness, effects of COVID-19 on social connectedness, and the role of social media on social connectedness during COVID-19. 

During her PhD, she is going to explore the interaction of social media use, hormonal status, and reward processes in adolescent girls. The goal of the project is to understand whether there are vulnerable periods during which adolescent girls have the risk of dysfunctional social media use. Consequently, this will help in the development of specific preventions and interventions. 

Outside of research, Edita likes spending time in nature, reading, working out, and drinking coffee.

Volha Auchynnikava

P10 – Maternal and fetal reactions to psychosocial stressors/rewards during pregnancy

Volha Auchynnikava is a PhD researcher under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Hubert Preissl. In her current project she investigates how stress and hormonal fluctuations influence fetal-maternal heart coupling and fetal brain development. In order to study this she uses fetal magnetoencephalography and fetal/maternal magnetocardiography.

Volha graduated with a Master of Arts in Physical Activity and Health from the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Before she obtained her medical degree from Belarusian State Medical University.

Outside of research, she enjoys spending time with her family, dancing and exercising in the gym.

Hanna Wierenga

P11 – Gender identity and norms and psychosocial function across hormonal transition

My background is in public health nursing and I have work experience especially from antenatal care and working with families in Finland. I was interested in cross-national elements of women’s health and studied my masters degree in global health at the Uppsala University in Sweden.

After graduating I worked as a research and course assistant, before moving to Tübingen to pursue my PhD in women’s mental health. My passion lies in the wellbeing of families with an understanding of the everyday life as well as the policy makers perspectives.

 When I am not conducting research I want to be outside in the forest exploring hiking trails. I also love running, swimming and cycling and dream about doing a triathlon one day. 

Gloria Matte-Bon

P12 – Genetic architecture of female mental health and its relation to brain architecture

Gloria is a PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Tobias Kaufmann (Tübingen) and Prof. Erika Comasco (Uppsala). In her project, in collaboration with the interfaculty graduate program AI4Med-BW, she is applying machine learning models to investigate sex differences in brain structure and their relation to women’s mental health.

Before moving to Tübingen, she studied biology and neurobiology at Sapienza University in Rome.

Associated PhD Researchers

Zoé Bürger

Hormonal contraception and stress reactivity in women

Zoé Bürger is a doctoral researcher in the research group „Innovative Neuroimaging“ (Head: Prof. Birgit Derntl). She joins the IRTG as an associate PhD student under supervision of Prof. Birgit Derntl and Prof. Erika Comasco. Her research focuses on the effects of hormonal contraception (specifically the hormonal IUD, but also oral contraceptives) on stress reactivity. For this, she investigates sex hormones and cortisol, but also subjective stress and physiological data such as heart rate and electrodermal activity. 

Before starting her PhD in 2019, she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in biology in Strasbourg and did a masters in Neurobiology at the University of Tübingen.  

When she is not in the lab, she can be found taking care of her plants, playing board- and video games or doing yoga and bouldering.

Melina Grahlow

Melina is a doctoral researcher in the group “Innovative Neuroimaging” lead by Prof. Birgit Derntl. She is associated with the IRTG under supervision of Prof. Birgit Derntl (UKT) and Dr. Andreas Frick (UU). Her research focuses on sex differences in cost-benefit decision-making and reward processing as well as possible hormonal modulations and metabolic influences, in a joint project with Prof. Nils Kroemer (UKT).

Melina is a psychologist by training and will start her qualification to become a psychotherapist in late 2023, while continuing to work on her PhD project.

When not spending time at the MR-scanner to measure participants, she enjoys buying and propagating (way too many) plants, spending time in nature and ballroom dancing.

Aiste Ambrase

Aiste Ambrase is a doctoral researcher in the research group „Women’s mental health and brain function“ (Head: Prof. Birgit Derntl). She joins the IRTG as an associate PhD student under supervision of Prof. Birgit Derntl and Dr. Andreas Frick. Her research focuses on moral, risky, and ambiguous decision-making, as well as effects of hormonal modulation and individual differences on decision processing in the brain. In her future research, Aiste plans to focus on indecisiveness as a symptom of many mental disorders and the role of social cognition networks in healthy and aberrant decision-making.


Before starting her PhD in 2018, Aiste studied political science at Vilnius University and moral philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. To transit into neuroscience research, she has also additionally completed a prerequisite course curriculum (1 year) in Neural and Behavioural Sciences Master’s programme at the Graduate Training Centre of Neuroscience, University of Tübingen.


When she is not in the lab, she spends time with her young son, or doing sports in the nature, or cooking healthy dishes for the family and friends.

Medical Doctorates

Luise Pfleiderer

 I am a medical student at the „Eberhard Karls Universität“ in Tübingen, currently in my eighth semester. Since May 2023, I have been engaged in an online study for the IRTG2804, which focuses on breast cancer, menopause, contraception, and their impact on female sexual health and arousal.


For my medical doctoral thesis, I am delving into the diverse effects of breast cancer surgeries on the sexual health and arousal of the patients.


Besides, I find great joy in beach volleyball and various outdoor sports.

Anna Willmann

I am a medical student in my seventh semester at the university of Tübingen. In the beginning of October 2023 I joined the IRTG2804. As part of my medical doctoral thesis I am engaged in project 06, which is focusing on oxytocin and reward processing across hormonal transition phases under the supervision of Manfred Hallschmid, Christian Benedict and Nina Röhm. 

In my free time I enjoy cycling, hiking and taking care of my plants. 

Theresa Püllen

Theresa is a medical student at Eberhard Karls University Tübingen.

In her doctoral thesis she will investigate the influence of estradiol 
on women with regard to stress reactivity and emotion regulation.

Besides she enjoys sports activities outdoors such as climbing or 
hiking, spending time with friends and family and drinking a good cup of 
coffee.

Ulrike Bernig

Ulrike is a medical student at the University of Tübingen and works in project P03 under the supervision of Dr. Henes. During her medical studies, she developed an interest in psychiatry and gynecology, so she immediately knew that she wanted to do her medical doctorate in IRTG2804.

In her free time, she enjoys playing soccer and doing other sports, as well as reading.

Lorean Göbel

Lorean is a medical student at the University of Tübingen in the seventh semester. He is involved in the IRTG project P07 „Neuroendocrine regulators of psychosexual health“ and investigates the association between (endogenous) testosterone levels and fMRI-measured brain activity in response to erotic stimuli in young female adults under the supervision of Prof. Birgit Derntl, Dr. Ann-Christin Kimmig and Franziska Weinmar.


Outside of medicine, he enjoys playing the piano, going on backpacking trips and engaging in projects about feminism, equality and sexual education.

Jule Sippel

Jule is a medical student in her 8th semester, currently taking a semester off. She is working on project 02, focusing on the influence of estradiol on the stress reactivity in women assessed by heart rate and heart rate variability.


 In her free time she enjoys playing soccer and loves to cook or bake.

Sandra Beinbauer

Sandra is a medical student at the University of Tübingen and works in project P03-„Stress reactivity and hormonal contraception“ under the supervision of Prof. Nils Krömer.

Outside of university, she enjoys spending time abroad, particularly in Rwanda and Kenya, where she discovered her interest in women’s health during internships.

Selin Tuzcu

Selin is currently studying medicine in seventh semester at the University of Tübingen. She is a part of IRTG2804 since April 2024. I’m engaged in project 1 focusing on stress reactivity and epigenetics of estrogen signaling during puberty under the supervision of Mirac Nur Musaoglu and Prof. Vanessa Nieratschker. 

She likes to drink coffee with friends or go swimming in her free time.

Jana Stichelbach

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Emilia Ansorge

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