Dr Bernhard Staresina PhD

Dr Bernhard Staresina

School of Psychology
Birmingham Fellow

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Staresina's research focuses on the neural mechanisms underlying episodic memory in humans. He is interested in how different brain mechanisms – in particular subregions of the medial temporal lobe (MTL) - contribute to successful encoding, consolidation and recollection of multiple event details. To address this question, he uses a combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electrophysiological recordings (iEEG, MEG) and behavioural testing.


  • PhD in Experimental Psychology (New York University, USA)
  • MA in Psychology (University of Vienna, Austria)


Dr Staresina did his undergraduate research at the University of Vienna, Austria, using Magnetoencephalography (MEG) to study episodic memory encoding and retrieval (supervised by Dr Peter Walla). For his Ph.D. training, he moved to New York City, where he applied functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at NYU’s Department of Psychology (supervised by Dr Lila Davachi), focusing on the division of labour in the medial temporal lobe (MTL) during successful memory formation.

Following his graduation from NYU, he took up a 1-year post-doctoral position at the Department of Epilepsy at the University of Bonn, Germany, where he used intracranial Electroencephalography (iEEG) to investigate the oscillatory dynamics of the hippocampus and surrounding areas during memory processes (working with Dr Juergen Fell).

He then secured a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship, which allowed him to spend time at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge (working with Dr Rik Henson), at the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging in Nijmegen (working with Dr Ole Jensen) and at Stanford University’s Department of Psychology (working with Dr Anthony Wagner). During that time, his work aimed at understanding the mechanisms of functional segregation (who does what?) as well as functional integration (how does it all come together?) in the MTL.

For more information see Dr Staresina's CV (PDF - 467KB).

Postgraduate supervision

Applications are welcome from doctoral or post-doctoral researchers interested in:

  • episodic memory
  • functional neuroimaging
  • sleep research
  • computational modeling
  • advanced fMRI/EEG analyses 


Dr Staresina's goal is to advance our understanding of human memory. What are the building blocks of our memories, and how are they assembled by the brain? Utilizing an array of cognitive neuroscience methods (fMRI, iEEG, MEG, behavioral testing), his research targets all three stages of episodic memory: the initial encounter (encoding), post-encoding consolidation processes during sleep and awake rest (offline periods) and the final recall (retrieval).

Over the last few years Dr Staresina has focused on the principles of functional segregation and integration across medial temporal lobe (MTL) subregions. Future work will both ‘zoom in’ to elucidate the different roles of hippocampal subfields/entorhinal cortex (using 7T high-field fMRI) and ‘zoom out’ to understand the interactions of the MTL with prefrontal and parietal cortices (using functional and effective connectivity analyses).

To further elucidate the neural mechanisms of memory and to ‘look under the hood’ of fMRI data, I will use intracranial recordings obtained directly from the hippocampus as well as surface EEG/MEG recordings coupled with advanced oscillatory analyses (e.g. cross-frequency coupling). Once we have a better understanding of the intricate mechanisms supporting episodic memory, we can start improving specific memory deficits such as those resulting from neurodegenerative diseases or even alleviate the debilitating effects arising from unwanted memories as seen in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 


Staresina, B.P., Alink, A., Kriegeskorte, N. and Henson, R.N. (2013). Awake reactivation predicts memory in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(52):21159 – 21164.

Staresina, B.P., Fell, J., Dunn, J., Axmacher, N. and Henson, R.N. (2013). Using state-trace analysis to dissociate the functions of the human hippocampus and perirhinal cortex in recognition memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(8):3119 – 3124.

Staresina, B.P., Cooper, E. and Henson, R.N. (2013). Reversible information flow across the medial temporal lobe: The hippocampus links cortical modules during memory retrieval. The Journal of Neuroscience 33(35):14184 - 14192.

Staresina, B.P., Fell, J., Do Lam, A.T., Axmacher, N. and Henson, R.N. (2012). Memory signals are temporally dissociated in and across human hippocampus and perirhinal cortex. Nature Neuroscience 15(8):1167 - 1173.

Staresina, B.P., Henson, R.N., Kriegeskorte, N. and Alink, A. (2012). Episodic reinstatement in the medial temporal lobe. The Journal of Neuroscience 32(50):18150 - 18156.

Fell, J., Staresina, B.P., Do Lam, A.T., Widman, G., Helmstaedter, C., Elger, C.E. and Axmacher N. (2012). Memory modulation by weak synchronous deep brain stimulation: A pilot study. Brain Stimulation 5(4).

Do Lam, A.T., Axmacher, N., Fell, J., Staresina, B.P., Gauggel, S., Wagner, T., Olligs, J. and Weis, S. (2012). Monitoring the mind: the neurocognitive correlates of metamemory. PloS One 7(1): e30009.

Staresina, B.P., Duncan, K.D. and Davachi, L. (2011). Perirhinal and parahippocampal cortices differentially contribute to later recollection of object- and scene-related event details. The Journal of Neuroscience 31(24):8739 - 8747.

Fell, J., Ludowig, E., Staresina, B.P., Wagner, T., Kranz, T., Elger, C.E. and Axmacher, N. (2011). Medial temporal lobe theta/alpha power enhancement precedes successful memory encoding: evidence based on intracranial EEG. The Journal of Neuroscience 31(14): 5392 - 5397.

Staresina, B.P. and Davachi, L. (2010). Object unitization and associative memory formation are supported by distinct brain regions. The Journal of Neuroscience 30(29): 9890 - 9897.

Devinsky, O., Davachi, L., Santchi, C., Quinn, B.T., Staresina, B.P. and Thesen, T. (2010). Hyperfamiliarity for faces. Neurology 74(12): 970 - 974.

Staresina, B.P. and Davachi, L. (2009). Mind the gap: Binding experiences across space and time in the human hippocampus. Neuron 63(2): 267 - 276.

Staresina, B.P., Gray, J.C. and Davachi, L. (2009). Event congruency enhances memory encoding through semantic elaboration and relational binding. Cerebral Cortex 19(5): 1198 - 1207.

Öztekin, I., McElree, B., Staresina, B.P. and Davachi, L. (2009). Neural correlates of working memory retrieval. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 21(3): 581 - 593.

Staresina, B.P. and Davachi, L. (2008). Selective and shared contributions of the hippocampus and perirhinal cortex to episodic item and associative encoding. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 20(8): 1478 - 1489.

Staresina, B.P. and Davachi, L. (2006). Differential encoding mechanisms for subsequent associative recognition and free recall. The Journal of Neuroscience 26(36): 9162 - 9172.

Staresina, B.P., Bauer, H., Deecke, L. and Walla, P. (2005). Magnetoencephalographic correlates of different levels in subjective recognition memory. NeuroImage 27(1): 83 - 94.

Staresina, B.P., Bauer, H., Deecke, L. and Walla, P. (2005). Neurocognitive correlates of incidental verbal memory encoding: a magnetoencephalographic (MEG) study. NeuroImage 25(2): 430 - 443.

Staresina, B. (2004). Epiphänomenalismus. Anlass zur Skepsis gegenüber Bewusstsein. In: A. Batthyany (Hrsg.), Bewusstsein: Neuronale Grundlagen und subjektives Erleben.[Epiphenomenalism. Reason for Skepticism Towards Consciousness. In: A. Batthyany (Ed.), Consciousness: Neural Fundamentals and Subjective Experience.] Kassel: Kassel University Press.