Watching a mantis shrimp crack a snail shell, a squid change its colors, or a washing machine run through its program has always triggered the same question in me: How does it work? As a researcher I therefore started out in the field of functional morphology. It began with crustaceans (their immense diversification never seize to fascinate me) and I soon discovered the wonders of sensory structures and neurobiology. In my PhD at the University of Copenhagen, I studied chemo- and mechanosensors on crustacean mouthparts. Among other things I discovered a collocation between osmolarity sensors and specialized bend-sensitive mechanoreceptors.
After my PhD (in 2003) I obtained grants from The Danish Research Council and The Carlsberg Foundation to become a postdoctoral fellow in the jellyfish group lead by Prof. Dan-E Nilsson at Lund University. Here we work with the visual system of cubomedusae (box jellyfish). Besides trying to understand their intriguing vision I want to use them as a model system of how (visual) information is processed. Cubomedusae offer a unique combination of complex sensory input (24 eyes!), a broad behavioral repertoire and a relatively simple CNS. Hopefully this system will allow me to follow “decisions” on a cellular level.
In my research I do histology, immunohistochemistry, scanning and transmission electron microscopy. I monitor nerve activity with electrophysiological techniques and I always try to verify the results with behavioral studies both in the lab and on field trips. Most of my spare time I spend with my wife and our two children, and we enjoy camping throughout Europe. I am also a passionate diver and spear-gun fishing has stolen many of my nights.