PhD Candidate @The Institute of Computational Neuroscience, UKE Hamburg
From October 2018

I study the brain-behaviour relationship using both real and artificial neural networks. The goal is to first have more brain-like architectures in Artificial Intelligence systems and then use them as models of the real brains. To understand the causal role of neural elements in the produced behaviour, I employ Game Theoretical tools such as Multi-perturbation Shapley value Analysis (MSA).

MSc Neuroscience @Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
October 2016 - September 2018

The focus of my programme was on "Sensory systems" on multiple levels. I had different courses from behavioural ecology to neurophysiology and statistical learning. I joined the Biological Psychology Lab in 2017 and had my thesis on Cocktail party effect using fMRI.

BSc Clinical Psychology @Roudehen Azad University of Tehran
October 2009 - December 2015

I studied biological foundations of mental disorders, diagnosis, nosology, clinical interview, basic statistics and seminal theories in psychology. I had my thesis on inducing agitation and sense of presence using music, the idea was to find core components of the soundtracks from horror movies.

Academic Experience

Teacher Assistant @Neuromatch Academy

July 2020

Neuromatch Academy is an online school of computational neuroscience that took place during the lockdown due to Corona pandemic. I was a TA there, learning a lot and finding very nice friends.

Research Fellow @Zatorre lab, McGill University, Montreal Neurological Institute
July 2018 - September 2018

For my MSc thesis, I studied auditory attention in a complex environment (cocktail-party effect) using fMRI and analysed the data using Inter-Subject Correlation (ISC). I was being supervised by Dr Sebastian Puschmann, Dr Mor Regev, Dr Christiane Thiel, and Dr Robert Zatorre.

Research Fellow @Basal Ganglia, Motivation and Reward (BAGAMORE) lab, Timone Institute of Neuroscience
October 2017 - April 2018

I studied the role of the hyperdirect pathway in the motivation for reward and cocaine for my MSc research project. I learnt how to handle rodents, perform stereotaxic surgeries, implant catheters, and used chemogenetics to target the hyperdirect pathway. I was being supervised by Christelle Baunez, Alix Tiran Cappello, and Jannis Hildebrandt.

Research Assistant @School of Cognitive Sciences, Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences (IPM)
August 2015 - October 2016

I was involved in two projects, one about the role of Oxytocin in human observational learning and the other about the network differences between patients with ADHD and control subjects. I was under the supervision of Hossein Vahabie.


Scholarship by SMARTstart fellowship

Bernstein Network provides this fellowship for those who are planning to have their PhD studies in computational neuroscience. I was covered for a year to learn analytical tools and experimental techniques that are necessary for my PhD study.

Scholarship by A*Midex fellowship

A total amount of €6,000 for my internship at Timone Institute of Neuroscience.

Travel grant by DAAD STIBET

A total amount of €1,400 for my internship at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

Travel grant by The Neuroscience MSc program of CVO

A total amount of €400 to supplement my internship at the Montreal Neurological Institute.

Travel grant by The DFG research unit 1735

The DFG research unit FOR 1735 "Structural Inference in Statistics" organised a junior workshop on causality and mathematical modelling of causality in biological sciences. Conditioning on admission, all the costs were covered by the research unit.

Finalist at NENS best undergraduate students' poster

Among roughly 170 submissions, my poster was selected as one of the three MSc posters to be presented in the NENS poster fair held in FENS 2018.


Publications and Presentations

Fakhar, K., Hilgetag, C., 2020. Causal Brain Mapping of Artificial Neural Networks by Game Theory: A Case for in-silico Multi-Perturbation Experiments. Poster Presentation In: International School and Conference on Network Science (NetSci).

doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.29018.77769

Fakhar, K., Gonschorek, D., Schmors, L., & Bielczyk, N. Z. (2019, August 16). Neuronal Causes and Behavioural Effects: a Review on Logical, Methodological, and Technical Issues With Respect to Causal Explanations of Behaviour in Neuroscience.

doi: 10.31234/  (preprint)

Fakhar, K., Tiran Cappello, A., & Baunez, C. (2018). Role of the hyperdirect pathway in motivation for food and cocaine: a chemogenetic investigation. Poster Presentation in Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) Forum 2018.

doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.17665.97122

Other Experiences

Institute of Neuroscience, Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg

June 2018: Lecturer and Tutor for the workshop on visual communication

October 2016 - October 2017: Student representative of the MSc neuroscience admission committee

October 2016  - December 2018: Member of neuroscience student body council

Eshareh Creative Solution

December 2014 - September 2016: Creative developer and graphic designer

Behnam Daheshpour Charity Organisation

July 2009 - December 2015: Creative and art manager (Volunteer)


World Food Programme (WFP)

June 2013 - December 2015: Creative and art manager (Volunteer)