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Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine

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Sofie Valk

Dr. Sofie Valk

Leader of the group "Cognitive Neurogenetics"

Research topics:

  • Large-scale brain organization
  • Evolution and development
  • Social neuroscience

I am interested to understand how evolutionary processes, genes, and behavior shape large-scale brain organization and its underlying function. I have studied artificial intelligence and philosophy at the University of Amsterdam before falling in love with the shape of the brain. After a PhD where I evaluated the interrelation between brain structure and social behavior, I studied the genetic basis and organization of large-scale brain structure, and its association with various behaviors in my postdoc at the INM-7 in Jülich.

The main focus of my research, and the research of my research group here and at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, is to investigate the interrelationship between nature, nurture, and brain organization. To answer this research question, we work mainly with large-scale open datasets of humans and non-human primates. I have a close collaboration with Boris Bernhardt from the mica-lab at the MNI in Montreal and am thrilled to be part of neuroimaging communities in both Leipzig and Jülich.Apart from running individual projects, I am a mentor in various programs supporting young researchers and am part of the jury of the Rhineland Falling Walls lab. I also support and promote open science and am part of the open science initiative Reproducibilitea based in Leipzig.


Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-7)
52425 Jülich


Phone: +49 2461 61-1409
Fax: +49 2461 61-1880