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Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development


Exchanging of methods and knowledge for early-career human neuroimaging researchers


The mission of the Brainfood peer mentoring group is to connect young UZH researchers who are investigating the human brain using various neuroimaging methods and to help them expand their knowledge. To tailor the contents and the topics of Brainfood’s meetings to the needs and interests of its members, interested parties are encouraged to reach out with questions and suggestions for topics and speakers. Based on Brainfood’s vision for a peer mentoring group, the group offers the following:

“Food for Thought” lunch seminars

Providing a platform for networking and peer feedback

Brainfood will provide opportunities for early- career researchers in the field of neuroimaging to meet their peers and strengthen local connections. Even though group members are working with similar data, they often do not know their peers from the local community, so they are not able to benefit from each other’’s knowledge and practical skills. The group will offer a physical and virtual (if needed) space for gathering neuroimaging researchers by organizing regular lunch seminars called “Food for Thought.” During these meetings, participants will be encouraged not only to get to know each other but to share their successes and struggles and contribute potential solutions to others’ difficulties. Ideally, this will ignite discussions, with participants receiving and providing advice based on their own knowledge and know-how. Additionally, Brainfood sees these meetings as a great opportunity for young scientists to practice important talks and presentations in front of their peers on different academic levels with knowledge on the methodology.

Workshops and talks

Learning opportunities with peers and advanced mentors.

We will expand the knowledge of our members on state-of-the-art methods in the field of non-invasive human neuroimaging research. We will organize hands-on workshops and invite guest speakers to provide insights into established techniques, new and helpful toolboxes, and cutting-edge research approaches from which the local community can profit. Ultimately our hope is that the members of the peer mentoring group will acquire or enhance their practical skills and be inspired to transfer elements of the new analytical or study conduction-related approaches to their personal projects after attending the workshops.

Online troubleshooting

Supporting each other in the daily struggles

As requested by our peers, we facilitate 4 online troubleshooting sessions throughout the year (2 in the spring term and 2 in the fall term). This initiative comes as a follow-up to our Troubleshooting “Food for thought” session in 2023, when the attendees addressed their current technical struggles in front of the group and received helpful tips on how to solve or at least approach the issue.

Summer Symposium

Getting a glimpse into our peers’ research

We plan a whole-day symposium this summer. The symposium will give the participants the opportunity to briefly present themselves and showcase their current research. The academic part will be followed by a fun night including board games and a pub quiz to allow the attendees to interact in a more informal manner and to connect on a more personal level. We are looking forward to getting to know you and your research in this informal setting!

Brainfood program for 2024

  • 21.03.2024: 15:00-16:15: Online troubleshooting event
  • 25.04.2024; 12:00-13:15: Food for Thought - Honest career planning with Dr. Ellen Jaspers
  • 14.05.2024; 12:00-13:15: Online troubleshooting event, distribution of registration link via email
  • 03.06.2024, 12:00-18:00: Workshop entitled „Machine Learning in EEG Analysis: Microstates and Decoding“ with Dr. Ruxandra Tivadar and Pinar Göktepe; register here
  • 11.06.2024, 16:00-17:00: Food for Thought - Recommended skills for PhD students, distribution of registration link via email

More details about the sessions are communicated via email few weeks before the respective events. For any questions, please reach out to us at

Past Events

Past lunch seminars “Food for Thought”

  • 10.11.2023, 12:15-13:15: Supervision
  • 06.10.2023, 16:30-17:30: Getting your paper ready for publishing
  • 22.06.2023, 16h: Brainfood Pizza night
  • 25.05.2023, 12:15-13:15: Lean on me: a soft-skills seminar
  • 24.04.2023, 12:15-13:15: Troubleshooting
  • 20.03.2023, 12:15-13:15: Kickoff event

Past Talks

  • Talk by Prof. Dr. Andreas Keil - Individual differences, the human brain, and mental health
    The Brainfood peer mentoring group has welcomed Prof. Andreas Keil to give a talk on “Individual differences, the human brain, and mental health: The role of a control area in addressing the reliability paradox”. The early career neuroscientists attending learned that many classical tasks might not be able to tap into individual differences or the causes thereof. Prof. Keil proposed that computational modelling and latent variables gained from these models can be used to bridge the gap.
  • Talk by Prof. Dr. Paul Sauseng - He who controls the medial prefrontal cortex controls cognition. And frontal-midline theta is that he
    Opening our Christmas event, Prof. Paul Sauseng gave an interesting talk about the work of his lab involving the medial PFC as a hub of the multiple demand network and its corresponding EEG signal, the frontal midline theta activity.
  • Talk by Dr. Lena Dorfschmidt - Insights from analyzing large aggregated MRI datasets
    Beginning of December, the Brainfood peer mentoring group got the chance to have a lively discussion with Dr. Lena Dorfschmidt about large fMRI datasets, following her talk about her research. Lena Dorfschmidt illuminated the advantages and challenges associated  with working with extensive and diverse neuroimaging datasets. She  provided insights into the preprocessing of data, quality control  measures, and the harmonization process.

Past Workshops

  • Dynamic causal modeling workshop by Dr. David Willinger
    In September, Dr. David Willinger joined the Brainfood community for a hands-on workshop about dynamic causal imaging (DCM), a method to analyze effective connectivity within specific brain networks. The Brainfood peer mentoring group learned what DCM and specifically resting state DCM is and how it can be applied in their own data.
  • fMRI analysis for beginners
    Brainfood kicked 0ff 2023 with a two-days workshop aiming to introduce peers with limited experience in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research to the specifics of functional data analysis. The workshop was given by Nico Ehrhardt, Nina Raduner, Plamina Dimanova, Réka Borbás, and Sarah di Pietro. The content covered experimental designs, data preprocessing, within- and between-subject analysis and included practical exercises with data and code provided by Brainfood.
  • Temporal response functions workshop by Dr. Enrico Varano and Dr. Marius Tröndle
    In November, Dr. Enrico Varano and Dr. Marius Tröndle gave a workshop about temporal response functions in EEG. In a first part, they explained how temporal response functions can be used to predict EEG responses for example evoked by continous naturalistic stimuli. In a second part, the Brainfood peer mentoring group was able to get some hands-on experience with scripts provided by Enrico Varano and Marius Tröndle.

Organizing Committee

As your Brainfood team, we are looking forward to meeting you and your peers and helping you expand your knowledge and network! For more details about us, you can check out our UZH pages:

We are immensely thankful to our advisory board members – Prof. Nora Raschle and Prof. Alexis Hervais-Adelman, who support our initiative. We are grateful to the Graduate School of the PhF and the Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development for the funding of this year‘s events! We also want to thank the graduate campus for recognizing the need for a neuroimaging peer mentoring group and funded the first year of our Brainfood events.

Contact us at:

Impressions from our events

  • Workshop by Dr. David Willinger

    Workshop by Dr. David Willinger

    Dynamic causal modeling

  • Kickoff event

  • Troubleshooting

  • Workshop by Dr. Enrico Varano and Dr. Marius Tröndle

    Temporal response functions

  • Talk by Prof. Dr. Andreas Keil

    Individual differences, the human brain, and mental health

  • fMRI for beginners Workshop

  • Food for Thought with Dr. Ellen Jaspers

    Food for Thought session with Dr. Ellen Jaspers

    Honest career planning