Dennis Eckmeier

I am a neuroscientist from Germany, and currently based in Lisbon, Portugal. After more than 7 years as a postdoctoral fellow, I decided to leave the academic path. I am currently working to establish myself as a freelancer in Science Communication and Science Advocacy.

ORCID ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-7818-8993

(complete CV)


Background

I am a neuroethologist. In my active research years, I studied specific, naturally occurring animal behaviors and the neuronal mechanisms that control this behavior. My research included audio-vocal behavior in toads, visual depth perception in birds, olfactory learning in mice, and running in mice.

In 2018 I left the academic research career as it wouldn’t provide me with the personal and professional growth I was looking for. I would have needed to work under these conditions for several more years to have a chance at successfully applying for a leading position in academia.


Academic Competences

  • Scholarship
      • served as an administrative assistant for a successful application of a multi-lab ‘Research Group’ which was then funded by the DFG
    • I attended writing workshops for scientific publications and funding applications at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (USA) and the Champalimaud Foundation (Portugal).
  • Teaching and Supervision I tutored single students and small groups in practical courses and laboratory internships throughout college and my PhD. This includes BSc and MSc students (EU system) during their theses works. As a postdoc in CSHL, I supervised rotating graduate students, and summer students, taught methods to new lab members, and advised graduate students in research questions.

Research Skills

    • Behavioral Tracking I am experienced in offline manual and automated, machine learning based tracking methods of animal locomotion.
    • Electrophysiology I performed single channel extracellular recordings in anaesthetized and awake animals, and chronic multichannel recordings in behaving animals. I further learned in vivo loose patch electrophysiology with following neurobiotin cell fills for anatomical classification.
    • Imaging I conducted wide-field imaging of intrinsic signals, and of fluorescent calcium signals in transgenic mice.
    • Genetic Manipulations I conducted side projects using viral microinjections in the brain for cre-dependent expression of channelrhodopsin and DREADD receptors.
  • Establishing Experimental Setups – I have extensive experience in setting up behavioral and physiological experiments, since every project I worked on demanded the establishment of new methods in the according laboratories. For example, I established a setup to track locomotion in mice under infrared conditions, while recording with multi-channel electrophysiological probes, and optogenetic stimulation, while working with Megan Carey at the Champalimaud Foundation.
  • Coding – I routinely program custom systems for semi-automatic stimulation control, data acquisition and data analysis, using LabView, and Matlab, which I also use for data visualization. I am now looking into open options for Matlab, in particular ‘Python’ and ‘Julia’.

Positions

  • Aug 2015 – July 2018. Postdoctoral Researcher, Carey Lab, Champalimaud Rersearch, Lisbon, Portugal
    Study subject was the role of the deep cerebellar nuclei in locomotion with electrophysiology and optogenetics.
  • Jan 2011 – July 2015 Postdoctoral Fellow, Shea Lab, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY, USA
    I studied the role of noradrenaline in olfactory learning in mice and noradrenergic activation during courtship in male mice.

Education

  • Jan 2007 – Dec 2010 Doctoral student, Bielefeld University, GermanyThesis “Optic Flow in Behavior and Brain Function of the Zebra Finch”
    adviser: Prof. Dr. HJ Bischof; co-adviser: Prof. Dr. M Egelhaaf
  • Oct 1999 – July 2006 undergraduate studies in biology,
    degree “Diplombiologe” awarded by the University of Cologne, Germany
    Thesis “Grundlagen des Wechselrufens der Anuren.”
                  (‘Basics of alternating courtship calls in anurans’)
    adviser: Prof. Dr. W Walkowiak

Experience in Outreach and Advocacy

  • since Aug 2017: Science for Progress
    I am the founder of Science for Progress, and design, administrate, and curate
    – the website www.scienceforprogress.eu
    – the facebook site and twitter account @sciforprogress
    – the Science for Progress rotating curation account @sfprocur
    I am the host moderator and editor for
    – the Science for Societal Progress podcast
  • Feb – Apr 2017: co-organizer of the March for Science in Lisbon, Portugal
  • May 2018: Guest on the German language podcast “Psycho-Talk” on Artificial Intelligence
  • March 2017: Guest on the German language podcast “BartoCast” on Neuroscience, and Artificial Intelligence in society and Science Fiction
  • Feb 2017: guest curator on @RealSci_DE, a German language ‘rocur’ (rotating curator) twitter account, dedicated to dissemination of science to a lay audience.
  • 2016-2018 I curated the twitter account of the Champalimaud public outreach project ‘Ar – respire connosco’ (@ArBreatheWithUs).
  • Since 2012 I use twitter (@DennisEckmeier) to communicate actively with academics and lay audiences
  • At CSHL’s Demystifying Science series, I was part of the organizing group and presented two scientific talks to lay audiences.