Axel Thielscher



+45 3862 3326


Senior Researcher



Research Interests

Axel’s methodological research foci are on the modeling of biophysics of transcranial brain stimulation and on combined neurostimulation-neuroimaging approaches. He was among the first to employ finite-element simulations of high spatial resolution to characterize the electric field induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), resulting in a novel hypothesis on the stimulation mechanisms of TMS. This work resulted in the first open-source toolbox for high-resolution field calculations in brain stimulation (, which is now available in a second strongly improved version. He further has a strong expertise in combining TMS with functional magnetic resonance imaging (both off- and online), with a focus on studying human sensorimotor integration and motor control processes.

Research Groups

Neurophysics (Group Leader)
Motor Control

Curriculum Vitae



Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering


Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences


Degree in Electrical Engineering


2012 - Present

Associate Professor & Senior Researcher, Biomedical Engineering Section, Technical University of Denmark & DRCMR

2008 - Present

Project Group Leader, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tubingen, Germany

2008 - 2011

Faculty member, Max Planck Graduate School, Tu?bingen, Germany

2005 - 2008

Research Scientist, MPI?BC

2004 - 2005

Postdoctoral Researcher, Dept. of Psychology, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

1999 - 2004

Research Assistant, Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Ulm

Full CV


Csifcsák, G., Boayue, N. M., Puonti, O., Thielscher, A. & Mittner, M.
Effects of transcranial direct current stimulation for treating depression: A modeling study.
Journal of Affective Disorders. 28, 234, p. 164-173, 2018.

Göksu, C., Hanson, L. G., Siebner, H. R., Ehses, P., Scheffler, K. & Thielscher, A.
Human in-vivo brain magnetic resonance current density imaging (MRCDI).
NeuroImage. 171, p. 26-39, 2018.

Göksu, C., Scheffler, K., Ehses, P., Hanson, L. G. & Thielscher, A.
Sensitivity analysis of magnetic field measurements for magnetic resonance electrical impedance tomography (MREIT).
Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. 79, p. 748-760, 2018.

Karadas, M., Wojciechowski, A. M., Huck, A., Dalby, N. O., Andersen, U. L. & Thielscher, A.
Feasibility and resolution limits of opto-magnetic imaging of neural network activity in brain slices using color centers in diamond.
Scientific Reports. 8, 4503 2018.

Bungert, A., Antunes, A., Espenhahn, S. & Thielscher, A.
Where does TMS Stimulate the Motor Cortex? Combining Electrophysiological Measurements and Realistic Field Estimates to Reveal the Affected Cortex Position.
Cerebral Cortex. 2018.

Nielsen, J. D., Madsen, K. H., Puonti, O., Siebner, H. R., Bauer, C., Madsen, C. G., Saturnino, G. B. & Thielscher, A.
Automatic skull segmentation from MR images for realistic volume conductor models of the head: Assessment of the state-of-the-art.
NeuroImage. 2018.

Dubbioso, R., Raffin, E., Karabanov, A., Thielscher, A. & Siebner, H. R.
Centre-surround organization of fast sensorimotor integration in human motor hand area.
NeuroImage. 158, p. 37-47, 2017.

Korshoej, A. R., Hansen, F. L., Thielscher, A., von Oettingen, G. B. & Sørensen, J. C. H.
Impact of tumor position, conductivity distribution and tissue homogeneity on the distribution of tumor treating fields in a human brain: A computer modeling study.
P L o S One. 12, 6, p. 1-12, e0179214 2017.

Leitão, J., Thielscher, A., Lee, H. L., Tuennerhoff, J. & Noppeney, U.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation of right inferior parietal cortex causally influences prefrontal activation for visual detection.
European Journal of Neuroscience. 46, 12, p. 2807-2816, 2017.

Leitão, J., Thielscher, A., Tuennerhoff, J. & Noppeney, U.
Comparing TMS perturbations to occipital and parietal cortices in concurrent TMS-fMRI studies-Methodological considerations.
P L o S One. 12, 8, p. 1-20, e0181438 2017.

Minjoli, S., Saturnino, G. B., Blicher, J. U., Stagg, C. J., Siebner, H. R., Antunes, A. & Thielscher, A.
The impact of large structural brain changes in chronic stroke patients on the electric field caused by transcranial brain stimulation.
NeuroImage. Clinical. 15, p. 106-117, 2017.

Saturnino, G. B., Madsen, K. H., Siebner, H. R. & Thielscher, A.
How to target inter-regional phase synchronization with dual-site Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation.
NeuroImage. 163, p. 68-80, 2017.

Göksu, C., Hanson, L. G., Ehses, P., Scheffler, K. & Thielscher, A.
Human In-vivo MR Current Density Imaging (MRCDI) Based on Optimized Multi-echo Spin Echo (MESE).

Bergmann, T. O., Karabanov, A., Hartwigsen, G., Thielscher, A. & Siebner, H. R.
Combining non-invasive transcranial brain stimulation with neuroimaging and electrophysiology: Current approaches and future perspectives.
NeuroImage. 140, p. 4-19, 2016.

Heise, K-F., Kortzorg, N., Saturnino, G. B., Fujiyama, H., Cuypers, K., Thielscher, A. & Swinnen, S. P.
Evaluation of a Modified High-Definition Electrode Montage for Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS) of Pre-Central Areas.
Brain Stimulation. 9, 5, p. 700-704, 2016.

Karabanov, A., Thielscher, A. & Siebner, H. R.
Transcranial brain stimulation: closing the loop between brain and stimulation.
Current Opinion in Neurology. 29, 4, p. 397-404, 2016.

Korshoej, A. R., Bicalho Saturnino, G., Rasmussen, L. K., von Oettingen, G., Sørensen, J. C. H. & Thielscher, A.
Enhancing Predicted Efficacy of Tumor Treating Fields Therapy of Glioblastoma Using Targeted Surgical Craniectomy: A Computer Modeling Study.
P L o S One. 11, 10, s. e0164051 26 p., 2016.

Opitz, A., Falchier, A., Yan, C-G., Yeagle, E. M., Linn, G. S., Megevand, P., Thielscher, A., Deborah A, R., Milham, M. P., Mehta, A. D. & Schroeder, C. E.
Spatiotemporal structure of intracranial electric fields induced by transcranial electric stimulation in humans and nonhuman primates.
Scientific Reports. 6 2016.

Reichenbach, A., Bresciani, J-P., Bülthoff, H. H. & Thielscher, A.
Reaching with the sixth sense: Vestibular contributions to voluntary motor control in the human right parietal cortex.
NeuroImage. 124, p. 869-875, 2016.

Bicalho Saturnino, G., Siebner, H. R., Madsen, K. H. & Thielscher, A.
Feasibility of focused multichannel optimization of transcranial current stimulation.
1 p., 2016.

Dubbioso, R., Raffin, E. E., Karabanov, A., Haahr Nielsen, S., Thielscher, A. & Siebner, H. R.
1 p., 2016.

Göksu, C., Hanson, L. G., Ehses, P., Scheffler, K. & Thielscher, A.
Efficiency Analysis of Magnetic Field Measurements for MR Electrical Impedance Tomography (MREIT).

Madsen, K. H., Thielscher, A., Saturnino, G. B. & Duemose Nielsen, J.
Computationally Efficient and Geometrically Accurate Head Models for EEG Based on FEM.

Madsen, K. H., Ewald, L., Siebner, H. R., Thielscher, A. 
Transcranial magnetic stimulation: An automated procedure to obtain coil-specific models for field calculations. Brain Stimulation.

Leitão, J., Thielscher, A., Tuennerhoff, J. & Noppeney, U.
Concurrent TMS-fMRI reveals interactions between dorsal and ventral attentional systems.
Journal of Neuroscience 35: 11445-11457. 2015.

Hartwigsen, G., Bergmann, T. O., Herz, D. M., Angstmann, S., Karabanov, A., Raffin, E., Thielscher, A., Siebner, H. R.
Modeling the effects of non-invasive transcranial brain stimulation at the biophysical, network and cognitive level. 
Progress in Brain Research: Computational Neurostimulation 222, p. 261-287. 2015.

Raffin, E., Pellegrino, G., Di Lazzaro, V., Thielscher, A., Siebner, H. R.
Bringing transcranial mapping into shape: sulcus-aligned mapping captures motor somatotopy in human primary motor hand area. 
Neuroimage (doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.07.025) 2015.

Saturnino, G. B., Antunes, A., Thielscher, A.
On the importance of electrode parameters for shaping electric field patterns generated by tDCS. 
Neuroimage 120:25-35. 2015.

Opitz A, Paulus W, Will S, Antunes A, Thielscher A (2015) Determinants of the electric field during transcranial direct current stimulation. Neuroimage 109:140-50.

Ergin MA, Kühne M, Thielscher A, Peer A (2014) Design of a New MR Compatible Haptic Interface with Six Actuated Degrees of Freedom, Conference paper on IEEE BioRob: 293 - 300

Rosso C, Valabregue R, Arbizu C, Ferrieux S, Vargas P, Humbert F, Attal Y, Messé A, Zavanone C, Meunier S, Cohen L, Delmaire C, Thielscher A, Herz DM, Siebner HR, Samson Y, Lehéricy S (2014). Connectivity between Right Inferior Frontal Gyrus and Supplementary Motor Area Predicts After-Effects of Right Frontal Cathodal tDCS on Picture Naming Speed, Brain Stimulation 7(1):122-9

Reichenbach A, Thielscher A, Peer A, Bülthoff HH, Bresciani JP (2014). A key region in the human parietal cortex for processing proprioceptive hand feedback during reaching movements, NeuroImage 84:615-25

Leitão J*, Thielscher A*, Werner S, Pohmann R, Noppeney U (2013). The effects of parietal TMS on auditory and visual activations at the primary cortical level - a concurrent TMS-fMRI study, Cerebral Cortex, 23, 873-884  *equal contribution

Windhoff M, Opitz A, Thielscher A (2013). Field calculations in brain stimulation based on finite elements: An optimized processing pipeline for the generation and usage of accurate individual head models, Human Brain Mapping, 24, 923-935

Moisa M, Siebner HR, Pohmann R, Thielscher A (2012). Uncovering a context-specific connectional fingerprint of human dorsal premotor cortex, Journal of Neuroscience, 32, 7244-7252

Helbig HB, Ernst MO, Ricciardi E, Pietrini P, Thielscher A, Mayer KM, Schultz J, Noppeney U (2012). The neural mechanisms of reliability weighted integration of shape information from vision and touch, NeuroImage, 60, 1063-1072

Opitz A, Windhoff M, Heidemann R, Turner R, Thielscher A (2011). How the brain tissue shapes the electric field induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation, NeuroImage, 58, 849-859 (topic selected for a talk at HBM 2011, Quebec, Canada)

Reichenbach A, Bresciani JP, Peer A, Bülthoff HH, Thielscher A (2011). Contributions of the PPC to Online Control of Visually Guided Reaching Movements Assessed with fMRI-Guided TMS, Cerebral Cortex, 21, 1602-1612

Zaretskaya N*, Thielscher A*, Logothetis NK, Bartels A (2010). Disrupting parietal function prolongs dominance durations in binocular rivalry, Current Biology, 20, 2106-2111 *equal contribution

Wehrl HF, Judenhofer MS, Thielscher A, Martirosian P, Schick F, Pichler BJ (2011). Assessment of MR compatibility of a PET insert developed for simultaneous multiparametric PET/MR imaging on an animal system operating at 7 T, Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 65, 269-279

Reichenbach A, Whittingstall K, Thielscher A (2011). Effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation on visual evoked potentials in a visual suppression task, NeuroImage, 54, 1375-1384

Thielscher A, Opitz A, Windhoff M (2011). Impact of the gyral geometry on the electric field induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation, NeuroImage, 54, 234-243

Moisa M, Pohmann R, Uludag K, Thielscher A (2010). Interleaved TMS/CASL: Comparison of different rTMS protocols, NeuroImage, 49, 612-620

Thielscher A, Reichenbach A, Ugurbil K, Uludag K (2010). The Cortical Site of Visual Suppression by Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Cerebral Cortex, 20, 328-338

Reichenbach A, Thielscher A, Peer A, Bülthoff HH, Bresciani JP (2009). Seeing the hand while reaching speeds up on-line responses to a sudden change in target position, Journal of Physiology, 587, 4605-4616

Thielscher A, Wichmann FA (2009). Determining the cortical target of transcranial magnetic stimulation, NeuroImage, 47, 1319-1330

Moisa M, Pohmann R, Ewald L, Thielscher A (2009). A new coil positioning method for interleaved TMS/fMRI and its validation in a motor cortex study, Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 29, 189-197

Judenhofer MS, Wehrl HF, Newport DF, Catana C, Siegel SB, Becker M, Thielscher A, Kneilling M, Lichy M, Eichner M, Klingel K, Reischl G, Widmaier S, Röcken M, Nutt RE, Machulla HJ, Uludag K, Cherry SR, Claussen CD, Pichler BJ (2008). Simultaneous PET/MRI: A new Approach for Functional and Morphological Imaging, Nature Medicine, 14, 459-465

Thielscher A, Kölle M, Neumann H, Spitzer M, Grön G (2008). Texture segmentation in human perception: a combined modeling and fMRI study, Neuroscience, 151, 730-736

Thielscher A, Neumann H (2008). Globally consistent depth sorting of overlapping 2D surfaces in a model using local recurrent interactions, Biological Cybernetics, 98, 305-337

Thielscher A, Pessoa L (2007). Neural correlates of perceptual choice and decision making during fear-disgust discrimination, Journal of Neuroscience, 27, 2908 –2917 (see Tobler&Kalenscher, JNeursc, 27, 6081-6082, for a review)

Thielscher A, Neumann H (2007). A computational model to link psychophysics and cortical cell activation patterns in human texture processing, Journal of Computational Neuroscience, 22, 255-282.

Thielscher A, Neumann H (2005). Neural Mechanisms of Human Texture Processing: Texture Boundary Detection and Visual Search, Spatial Vision, 18, 227-257.

Schönfeldt Lecuona C, Thielscher A, Freudenmann RW, Kron M, Spitzer M, Herwig U (2005). Accuracy of Stereotaxic Positioning of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Brain Topography, 17, 253-259.

Grön G, Kirstein M, Thielscher A, Riepe MW, Spitzer M (2005). Cholinergic enhancement of episodic memory in healthy young adults, Psychopharmacology, 182, 170 – 179.

Thielscher A, Kammer T (2004). Electric Field Properties of Two Commercial Figure-8 Coils in TMS: Calculation of Focality and Efficiency, Clinical Neurophysiology, 115, 1697-1708.

Thielscher A, Neumann H (2003). Neural Mechanisms of Cortico-cortical Interaction in Texture Boundary Detection: a Modeling Approach, Neuroscience, 122, 921-939.

Kammer T, Beck S, Puls K, Roether C, Thielscher A (2003). Motor and Phosphene Thresholds: Consequences of Anisotropy, Supplements to Clinical Neurophysiology, 56, 198-203.

Kammer T, Thielscher A (2003). Physical and physiological foundations of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (in German), Nervenheilkunde, 22, 168-176.

Thielscher A, Schubö A, Neumann H (2002). A Neural Model of Human Texture Processing: Texture Segmentation vs. Visual Search. In: Bülthoff HH, Walraven C. (eds), Biologically Motivated Computer Vision, Springer, Heidelberg

Thielscher A, Kammer T (2002). Linking Physics with Physiology in TMS, NeuroImage, 17, 1117-1130.

Herwig U, Kolbel K, Wunderlich AP, Thielscher A, von Tiesenhausen C, Spitzer M, Schonfeldt-Lecuona C (2002). Spatial congruence of neuronavigated transcranial magnetic stimulation and functional neuroimaging, Clinical Neurophysiology, 113, 462-468.

Herwig U, Schonfeldt-Lecuona C, Wunderlich AP, von Tiesenhausen C, Thielscher A, Walter H, Spitzer M (2001). The navigation of transcranial magnetic stimulation, Psychiatry Research, 108, 123-131.

Kammer T, Beck S, Thielscher A, Laubis-Herrmann U, Topka H (2001). Motor thresholds in humans: a transcranial magnetic stimulation study comparing different pulse waveforms, current directions and stimulator types, Clinical Neurophysiology, 112, 250-258.

Herwig U, Schönfeldt Lecuona C, Wunderlich AP, Thielscher A, Grön G, von Tiesenhausen C, Spitzer M (2000). Navigation of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation guided by fMRI activation maps (in German), Nervenheilkunde, 19, 38-41.

Conference Papers (peer-reviewed)

Puonti O, Van Leemput K, Nielsen JD, Bauer C, Siebner HR, Madsen KH, Thielscher A (2018) Skull segmentation from MR scans using a higher-order shape model based on convolutional restricted Boltzmann machines. SPIE Medical Imaging 2018 (selected for talk)

Thielscher A, Antunes A, Saturnino GB (2015) Field modeling for transcranial magnetic stimulation: a useful tool to understand the physiological effects of TMS? Invited conference paper at IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Milan, Italy (doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2015.7318340; selected for talk)

Wechsler A, Wössner S, Stallkamp J, Thielscher A, Kammer T (2004). Development of a Navigation System for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Proceedings of the Scientific Workshop on Medical Robotics, Navigation and Visualization 2004 (Remagen Germany)