Valentin Riedl ­­­­

Brain Scientist, and making films about science

Neuroenergetics lab retreat

We stayed in a bewitched spot, the Gruttenhütte, on the basis of the Kaisergebirge, Austria, for four days to fully immerse in the effects of muscle ache and nougat dumplings on brain metabolism.

Munich Krapfen (donut) challenge

March 2022: The fasting study last year was fun, but testing six bakeries in a row for the best Munich donuts was even more! .... winners were Rischart and Schmalznudel in case you're interested. 


New study design... fasting and the brain

Oct 2021: With some throwbacks in scanning due to COVID during last two years, we continue exploring novel ways of studying the gut-brain-axis. Here the whole group participated in a challenging week of fasting while at the same time studying our brains and microbiomes. Craving for coffee and chocolate afterwards! 

My science documentary film LOST IN FACE was finally hitting German cinemas

Sept 2021: After a year where film festivals were possible only online, LOST IN FACE finally hit German cinemas with real screenings in person! The protagonist of my film, Carlotta, and me had a phantastic cinema tour with lots of audience discussions. We were supported by several colleagues and experts on the panel to explain how the brain perceives the world and particularly faces. Carlotta can't recognise faces (prosopagnosia, "face blindness") but has developed a creative way of haptic self portraits that let her finally recognize herself. 

I am greatful to most interesting discussions with the audience and with colleagues from neuropsychology, genetics, neurology, psychiatry, and neuroscience, particularly Profs. Ingo Kennerknecht (Münster), Cornelia McCormick (DZNE, Bonn), Boris Suchan (Bochum), Ariel Schönfeld (Magdeburg), Rainer Schwarting & Lars Timmermann (Marburg), Ingrid Ehrlich (Stuttgart), and Kristina Hennig-Fast (Bielefeld).

Some decent lab hike

Aug 2021: We met for a hiking adventure in the Bavarian mountains to climb some fabulous peaks! Obviously, such exercise allows for decent lunch at the hut afterwards with fatty cheese noodles (Käsespätzle). 


TUM-coordinator Neuroimaging at the new "German Center for Mental Health"

May 2021: TUM & LMU join forces to form the Munich site of the new German Center for Mental Health (Deutsches Zentrum für Psychische Gesundheit, DZPG). I will be co-hosting the working group on "neuroimaging" within DZPG and serve as PI and TUM-coordinator for "neuroimaging". Kick-off of the Munich-site:

COVID changes our habits, but online works!

April 2021: We all get used to meet online. The group meets on a weekly basis and enjoys some insight into private rooms, discovering cats, weird plants, and balconies. 

DFG (German Research Foundation) features our work

Nov 2020: DFG Magazin [german] features our work on "neuroenergetics" and Valentin's documentary "Lost in Face" in their quarterly magazine about the German research environment. 

Open-source, open-science ready neuroimaging pipeline established

Nov 2020: We have established a nose-to-tail neuroimaging pipeline, grabbing imaging data from the scanner, integrating into XNAT database (BIDS standard), automatized preprocessing/QC-scripts (python), and fully documented analysis pipelines (JupyterHub, docker) ready for open-science repositories and reporting in publications. Please find manuals and video tutorials here: XNAT-imaging pipeline @neuroenergetics lab.

BBC NEWS features my film about faceblind Carlotta

Aug 2020: This is science communication at its best. The BBC NEWS did an extensive and sensitive feature about the protagonist of my feature documentary LOST IN FACE, faceblind Carlotta, and her art. I never expected to reach such a huge audience for our brain research, the complexity of the human brain, and the fact that each of us has a very individual view of the world around us. 

Hackathon project Jupyter4Xnat for Brainweb

July 2020: In the course of setting up a unified, automatized, and open-science ready neuroimaging pipeline (based on XNAT, Jupyter, python) at our lab, we participated with a Jupyter4Xnat project at the brain-web hackathon.

links: brainweb hackathongithub project

Award for documentary film about faceblindness

June 2020: My documentary film LOST IN FACE about faceblind Carlotta wins "Best Debut Film" at the German Documentary Film Awards [german] ceremony.

Hackathon #WirVsVirus to fight Covid-19

March 2020: Valentin joined a group of developers, designers and science communicators to develop an anonymous tracking app to detect spreading of Covid-19 at its earliest stage. The hackathon, initiated by the German Federal Government attracted >40.000 people to work on >2.000 projects. What a great interdisciplinary community effort! Our project PANDOA made it on the short list of interesting projects and we now wait for further notice about which projects will receive funding by the German State Department. 

Project page:


Study on heterogeneous effects of TMS published in Science Advances

Jan 2020: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a noninvasive method to modulate brain activity and behavior in humans. Still, stimulation effects substantially vary across studies and individuals, thereby restricting the large-scale application of TMS in research or clinical settings. We revealed that low-frequency stimulation had opposite impact on the functional connectivity of sensory and cognitive brain regions. Biophysical modeling then identified a neuronal mechanism underlying these region-specific effects. We revealed how TMS modulation critically depends on the connectivity profile of target regions and propose an imaging marker to improve sensitivity of noninvasive brain stimulation for research and clinical applications. link to open access paper: The physiological effects of noninvasive brain stimulation fundamentally differ across the human cortex. G. Castrillon, N. Sollmann, K. Kurcyus, A. Razi, S. M. Krieg, V. Riedl. Science Advances, 6, eaay2739 (2020). 

Animation film CARLOTTA'S FACE presented at Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation

Dez 2019: My short documentary CARLOTTA'S FACE about faceblind Carlotta was screened at the 12th Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation, the largest conference for Science Communication in Germany. Together with the animation artist Frédéric Schuld, we illustrated how a brain deficit can lead to social exclusion but also be the source of beautiful art. The film travelled more than 200 film festivals worldwide and won awards at documentary and animation festivals but also awards for communicating science. 

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