Dr Daniel Margulies

I am a neuroscientist with a background in the humanities. My work consists of basic neuroanatomy that explores how connectivity within the cerebral cortex is organized as well as ongoing collaborations that address the functional implications of this organization for spontaneous thought (or ‘mind-wandering’, with Jonny Smallwood) and the historical emergence of the research fields surrounding such questions (with Felicity Callard).

What links these topics to questions of rest and activity is that the data we use: To describe connections between brain regions, we record brain activity during a state of ‘rest’ and assess the synchrony of spontaneous fluctuations. But how can we describe the mental states when we appear to be doing ‘nothing’? At the Hub, I hope to collaborate on expanding methodologies for describing such states.

The challenge of data exploration, especially when it becomes high dimensional and includes various modalities, is another topic I hope to engage with collaborators in the arts and social sciences. Through combining outputs related to a core dataset we’ll be acquiring that characterizes rest, I hope to expand techniques for data visualization and interaction.


Daniel leads the Max Planck Research Group for Neuroanatomy and Connectivity, based at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig. The group’s primary focus is investigating the anatomical organization of connections in the human brain and their functional implications.