Scientific Directors

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ludwig Huber

Prof. Ludwig Huber is one of the founders and scientific directors of the CCNU. He holds a full professorship (chair) for the natural science of animal ethics and human-animal-interactions at the Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Medical University of Vienna (double appointment) and University of Vienna. He has extensive expertise in using behavioural and psychophysiological methods to investigate dog cognition and behaviour (besides studying parrots, pigs and several other species). He has been key in establishing the neuroimaging research centre used for comparative MRI in dogs and humans by the CCNU. As the founder and director of the Clever Dog Lab, he provides the CCNU with essential access to various facilities essential for comparative cognition research on dogs.

Contact: ludwig.huber@vetmeduni.ac.at

 

 

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Claus Lamm

Prof. Claus Lamm is one of the founders and scientific directors of the CCNU. He is a Professor in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience at the University of Vienna. While most of his research has focused on homo sapiens, he has started a new comparative research line in recent years. This entails, by means of collaborations, behavioural investigations in ravens, marmosets, dogs and wolves, but predominantly the use of fMRI in dogs. He is the director of and has been key in establishing the neuroimaging research centre that allows comparative MRI in dogs and humans. As the head of the SCAN-Unit, he provides the CCNU with direct access to additional research facilities such as EEG, behavioural, psychophysiology, and brain stimulation labs.

Contact: claus.lamm@univie.ac.at

Scientific Staff

Magdalena Boch, M.Sc.

Magdalena Boch is a Ph.D. student at the SCAN-Unit, University of Vienna and part of the Doctoral Program Cognition and Communication. She investigates the evolutionary roots of the social brain by comparing the neural underpinnings of social skills in dogs and humans using fMRI with fully awake and unrestrained dogs (and humans), eye tracking and behavioral measurements. Her research focuses on the potentially similar neuro-cognitive functions during tasks such as emotional contagion, perspective taking & social interaction processing.

Contact: magdalena.boch@univie.ac.at

Alexandrina Guran, Ph.D.

Alexandrina Guran is a post-doctoral researcher at the Vienna Cognitive Science Hub and SCAN-Unit (University of Vienna). She studied Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, and Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. She completed a PhD in psychology at the University of Lübeck, Germany, where she gained extensive knowledge of EEG and fMRI data acquisition and analysis in aging adults. Her background is essential for the development of experimental neuroscientific paradigms to probe the origins of social cognition, as well as the analysis and interpretation of data in the project. 

Contact: alexandrina.guran@univie.ac.at

Dipl.-Biol. Sabrina Karl

Sabrina is a Ph.D. student and certified dog trainer at the Clever Dog Lab, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna and part of the Doctoral Program Cognition and Communication. She developed the training program for the CCNU dogs to remain comfortable and fully awake throughout fMRI data collection. For her Ph.D. studies, she investigates the neural bases of dog attachment and the potential similarities between human-dog relationships and the parent-child bond. The main methods she's using are fMRI, eye tracking and behavioral measures.

Contact: sabrina.karl@vetmeduni.ac.at

Lucrezia Lonardo, M.Sc.

Lucrezia is a Ph.D. student at the Comparative Cognition unit at the Clever Dog Lab, Messerli Research Institute. She is working on the project “Convergent Evolution of the Social Brain? A comparative dog-human fMRI approach” (supervisors: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Huber and Univ.-Prof. Dr. Lamm).
The main focus of the project are theory of mind, action understanding and empathy in dogs and humans. These will be investigated by combining behavioural, eye-tracker and neuroimaging studies.

Contact: lucrezia.lonardo@vetmeduni.ac.at

Dr. Ronald Sladky

Dr. Ronald Sladky is a post-doctoral Senior Scientist at the SCAN-Unit, University of Vienna. He studied Cognitive Science (University of Vienna), and received a Ph.D. and habilitation in Medical Physics (Medical University of Vienna) for his work on fMRI methodology and brain connectivity. His main contributions to the CCNU are essential in the domain of fMRI analyses in general and in quantitative comparative fMRI analyses in particular.

Contact: ronald.sladky@univie.ac.at

Dr. Zsófia Virányi

Dr. Zsófia Virányi is a senior scientist at the Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Sciences Vienna. She holds a Ph.D. in Ethology (Budapest), and has extensive expertise in canine behavioural and cognition research. Together with Friederike Range and Kurt Kotrschal she has co-founded the Wolf Science Center and and is devoted to dog research being conducted at the Clever Dog Lab) and establishing behavioral medicine at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna. Her knowledge and expertise are essential for the design, analysis and interpretation of the dog behavioural studies performed by the CCNU.

Contact: zsofia.viranyi@vetmeduni.ac.at

Dr. Isabella Wagner

Dr. Isabella Wagner is a post-doctoral researcher at the SCAN-Unit (University of Vienna). She studied Psychology (University of Graz, Austria) and completed a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour (Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, The Netherlands). There, she received extensive training using multivariate neuroimaging analyses and machine learning techniques. Her main contributions to the CCNU are in the domain of multivariate analyses of brain activation and connectivity, in both humans and dogs.

Contact: isabella.wagner@univie.ac.at

Lab Assistants

Olaf Borghi

Olaf Borghi works as a research assistant at the CCNU. His main duties are to help perform MRI scans with dogs and humans, dog fMRI training, and supporting the research team with various administrative tasks.

Contact: olaf.borghi@univie.ac.at

Morris Krainz, B.Sc.

Morris Krainz works as a research assistant at the SCAN-Unit, University of Vienna and is partially assigned to the CCNU. His main duties are to help perform MRI scans and training, and supporting the research team with various administrative tasks.

Contact: morris.krainz@univie.ac.at

Laura Laussegger

Laura Laussegger completed the course in dog science at the Academy for Animal Naturopathy and completed her training as a dog trainer in May 2019 with an oral and practical examination. She also obtained the certificate as an animal welfare qualified dog trainer from the Messerli Research Institute. Since January 2020, she has been working as a dog trainer in the Clever Dog Lab and is involved in the research project "Convergent Evolution of the Social Brain? A comparative dog-human fMRI research approach (EVOSOCBRAIN)". For this purpose she trains pet dogs so that they can take tests in the eye tracker and then in the MRI scanner.

Contact: laura.laussegger@vetmeduni.ac.at

Helena Manzenreiter, M.Sc. (on parental leave)

Helena Manzenreiter, MSc completed her bachelor's degree in "Food and Biotechnology" in 2014 at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna. Subsequently, she completed the master's degree, "Interdisciplinary Master in Human - Animal Interactions", at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna in 2018. Additionally she was able to complete training as an Icelandic Horse Training Instructor (OEPS), as well as training as a qualified animal masseuse and movement trainer. In 2019, she completed a certificate for qualified dog trainers from the Messerli Research Institute. She has been working at the Clever Dog Lab since January 2020 and is a contributor to the research project "Convergent Evolution of the Social Brain? A comparative canine-human fMRI research approach (EVOSOCBRAIN)". For this purpose, she trains pet dogs in order for them to get tested on the MRI scanner.

Contact: helena.manzenreiter@vetmeduni.ac.at

Anna Thallinger

Anna Thallinger works as a research assistant for the CCNU. Her main duties are to help perform dog MRI scans and training, as well as human MRI scans, and supporting the research team with various administrative tasks.

Contact: anna.thallinger@univie.ac.at

Marion Umek

Marion Umek completed the "International Dog Trainer Education" with Ann Lill Kvam and Turid Rugaas in 2014. After a two-year training at THL, she passed the practical and oral final examination in 2016 to become a holistically oriented dog behaviour trainer. In addition, she obtained the certificate as an animal welfare qualified dog trainer and trains dogs at TierQuartier Wien. She has been working at the Clever Dog Lab since May 2020 and is a contributor to the research project "Convergent Evolution of the Social Brain? A comparative canine-human fMRI research approach (EVOSOCBRAIN)". For this she is training pet dogs so that they can take tests in the MRI scanner and then also in the eye tracker.

Contact: marion.umek@vetmeduni.ac.at

Technical Support & Administration

Mag. Karin Bayer

Mag. Karin Bayer has been the manager of the Clever Dog Lab since 2008. Beside her studies of zoology at the University of Vienna she received an education in behavior consultation for companion animals. In 2004, she took part in further training for behavior therapy at the Academy for Veterinarian Education (University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany). She has been an examiner for the Vienna dog license and listed dogs since 2006 and 2010 respectively and she has been a member of the commission for the animal welfare qualified dog trainer exam since 2013.

Contact: karin.bayer@vetmeduni.ac.at

Wolfgang Berger

Wolfgang Berger is responsible for the development and construction of the technical equipment for research and for ongoing maintenance at the Messerli Research Institute. Among many other experimental apparatuses he built the eye-tracker set-up as well as the mock scanner in the Clever Dog Lab for the training of dogs that have been selected to participate in the fMRI studies.

Contact: wolfgang.berger@vetmeduni.ac.at

Dr. Andreas Gartus

Dr. Andreas Gartus is a post-doctoral Senior Scientist at the University of Vienna, with an electrical engineering degree (Technical University of Vienna) and a Ph.D. degree in psychology (University of Vienna). He supports the CCNU by tailor-made hard- and software for human experimentation, such as special button boxes or stimulus delivery apparatuses.

Contact: andreas.gartus@univie.ac.at

Mag. Lukas Lengersdorff

Mag. Lukas Lengersdorff is a Senior Scientist at the SCAN-Unit, University of Vienna. He is the lab manager and MR safety officer at the neuroimaging research center. He supports the research team in all organizational and technical matters, such as installation and set up of new equipment.

Contact: lukas.lengersdorff@univie.ac.at

Interns

Verena Grosse (SS 2021)

Lisa Triebenbacher (WS 2020)

Judith Sattelberger (SS 2019)

Alexander Starlinger (WS 2018)

Nils Wende (SS 2018)

Franziska Michalewicz (SoSe 2021)

Annabelle Baumgartner (WS 2020)

Johanna Borbely (Summer 2020)

Marie-Christine Rühle (WS 2019)

Thabea Ulmers (Summer 2019)

Maximilian Wunderlich (WS 2020)

Olaf Borghi (SS 2020)

Theresa Bonkoss (WS 2019)

Anna Thallinger (WS 2018)

Alumni

Boryana Todorova, M.Sc. (former master student)