Wahl Anna Sophia 2880 X 880

Anna-Sophia Wahl

Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us.[nbsp](Oscar Wilde) As a Branco Weiss Fellow Dr. Dr. Anna-Sophia Wahl aims at investigating the neurobiological effect of intense physical training on brain circuits for memory consolidation and stabilization to prevent cognitive decline.



Academic Career

  • Professor at the Institute of Anatomy and Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research, University Hospital, LMU Munich, 2022-present
  • Junior Group Leader in the Laboratory of Neural Circuit Dynamics (head: Prof. F. Helmchen) at the Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich, 2019-present
  • Resident at the Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Germany 2016-2021
  • Postdoc at the Brain Research Institute, University and ETH Zurich, Switzerland 2015-2016
  • PhD at the Brain Research Institute, University and ETH Zurich 2011-2014
  • Medical studies at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and Bern, Switzerland, and Columbia University in New York, USA 2004-2011

Major Awards

  • Best publication award 2014 of the Swiss Society of Neuroscience, 2014
  • Prize of the Faculty of Science, University of Zurich for an excellent PhD thesis, 2014
  • Participant of the MD/PhD Programm at the University of Heidelberg, 2007-2011
  • Participant of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting upon nomination of the Medical Faculty, University of Heidelberg 2007
  • Scholarship of the German National Academic Foundation 2007-2011
  • Scholarship of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation e. V. 2005-2011

In the News
Parsing Science (Podcast): Stroke recovery with light ScienceDaily: Improving stroke through machine learning Stuttgarter Nachrichten: Unbemerkte Zeichen des Schlaganfalls (German)


Branco Weiss Fellow Since

Research Category
Neuroscience, Biological Psychiatry

Research Location
Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research (ISD), University Hospital of LMU Munich, Germany

Our memory is our most precious gift, shaping our experience, determining our decisions and defining our individuality as human beings.[nbsp] Memories are the basis for all our everyday activities, performing independently and participating in society. This becomes obvious when cognitive abilities decline, impacting personal life as well as medical and health care systems. According to the recent World Alzheimer Report 47 million people live with dementia worldwide. This number is said to increase to more than 131 million by 2050, as populations age. Besides Alzheimer`s disease vascular dementia is the second most common cause for cognitive decline and probably the most underestimated one with a large number of undiagnosed cases. As good rodent models are missing, there is neither a causally treating or preventing pharmacological option for patients with dementia, nor do we understand why some memories degrade over time comparable with a jigsaw where more and more pieces are vanishing and the big picture – the human mind and self-concept- gets lost. That sports and enhanced physical activity contribute to a healthy lifestyle is somewhat common sense. However, it is not well understood, how physical activity influences brain plasticity, neuronal circuit formation and may even stabilize memory and thus prevent cognitive decline.
Details of Research
Dr. Anna-Sophia Wahl seeks to unravel in a mouse model how intense physical training promotes brain plasticity to stabilize neuronal circuitry for memory encoding on a cellular resolution level. She will directly study nerve cell activity and the interplay of neurons in networks of the hippocampus, a brain structure substantially involved in memory formation and consolidation, in the behaving, awake animal, performing cognitive and sensorimotor tasks under the microscope. Due to the chronic window implantation over the hippocampus the same neuronal networks and even their degradation after CNS injury can be studied over time in dependence of the behavioral phenotype. The here developed rodent model may not only lead to a better understanding of causal relationships between degenerating neuronal networks and the decline of specific cognitive features but may in particular reveal new biological targets and optimized rehabilitative treatment options to prevent dementia.