Dr. Katharina Brauns

Center for Space Medicine and Extreme Environments Berlin

Charité Cross Over
Charitéplatz 1
10117 Berlin

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+49 (0)30 450 528 517

Katharina Brauns studied Bioinformatics at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. After attending a seminar about physiology, she decided to write her bachelor thesis at the Center for Space Medicine and Extreme Environments in 2012. To pursue her interest in human physiology and adaptation to extreme environmental stressors, she worked as a student employee in the lab of Prof. Gunga and finally wrote her master thesis on the acute effects of head-out water immersion on resting brain activity. In 2015, she started working as a research associate.

Mrs. Brauns completed her doctoral thesis assessing the impact of long-term bed rest on brain structure and function under the supervision of Prof. Gunga and Dr. Stahn and received her doctoral degree (Dr. rer. medic.) in 2022.

In her spare time, she is very active, does Freeletics, is a passionate volleyball and beach volleyball player and also acts as a trainer for young girls.

Research focus: space medicine, physiology in extreme environments, neurophysiological and behavioral adaptations to environmental stressors


Since 2015 Katharina Brauns was assigned as a CO-I of the following projects:

  • Brain Changes and Spatial Navigation after Long-Duration Isolation and Confinement and the Significance of Virtual Earthgazing to Augment Sensory Stimulation
  • Spatial Cognition and Hippocampal Plasticity During Long-Duration Low-Earth Orbit Missions: HypoCampus in i1YMP
  • Neuroplasticity in HERA – Structural and Functional Changes in Hippocampal Plasticity after Isolation and Its Behavioral Significance for Long Duration Space Exploration Missions
  • Impact of Long-Duration Spaceflight on Hippocampal Volume and Visuo-Spatial Memory
  • Effects of Parabolic Flight on Spatial Cognition and Hippocampal Plasticity
  • Executive Control Functions and their Neurophysiologic Mechanisms During Head-Down-Tilt Bed Rest
  • Impact of Bed Rest on Cognitive Performance and its Mechanisms: Interactions between Central Inflammatory Responses, Autonomic Nervous Control, and Brain Structure and Function



Friedl-Werner, A., Machado, M.-L., Balestra, C., Liegard, Y., Philoxene, B., Brauns, K., Stahn, A. C., Hitier, M., & Besnard, S. (2021). Impaired Attentional Processing During Parabolic Flight. Frontiers in Physiology, 12, 675426. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.675426

Mendt, S., Brauns, K., Friedl-Werner, A., Belavỳ, D. L., Steinach, M., Schlabs, T., Werner, A., Gunga, H.-C., & Stahn, A. C. (2021). Long-term Bed Rest Delays the Circadian Phase of Core Body Temperature. Frontiers in Physiology, 12, 564. https://doi.org/10.3389/FPHYS.2021.658707

Brauns, K., Friedl-Werner, A., Gunga, H.-C., & Stahn, A. C. (2021). Effects of two months of bed rest and antioxidant supplementation on attentional processing. Cortex. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2021.03.026

Brauns, K., Friedl-Werner, A., Maggioni, M. A., Gunga, H.-C., & Stahn, A. C. (2021). Head-Down Tilt Position, but Not the Duration of Bed Rest Affects Resting State Electrocortical Activity. Frontiers in Physiology, 12:638669. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.638669


Friedl-Werner, A., Brauns, K., Gunga, H. C., Kühn, S., & Stahn, A. C. (2020). Exercise-induced changes in brain activity during memory encoding and retrieval after long-term bed rest. NeuroImage223.

Stahn, A. C., Riemer, M., Wolbers, T., Werner, A., Brauns, K., Besnard, S., Denise, P., Kühn, S., & Gunga, H.-C. (2020). Spatial Updating Depends on Gravity. Frontiers in Neural Circuits14.


Brauns K., Werner A., Gunga H.-C., Maggioni M.A., Dinges D.F., Stahn, A. (2019). Electrocortical Evidence for Impaired Affective Picture Processing after Long-Term Immobilization. Nature Sci Rep 9, 16610, 2019.


Maggioni, M.A., Castiglioni, P., Merati, G., Brauns, K., Gunga, H.-C., Mendt, S., Opatz, S., Rundfeldt, L.C., Steinach, M., Werner, A., Stahn, A. C. (2018). High-Intensity Exercise mitigates cardiovascular deconditioning during long-duration bed rest. Frontiers in Physiology,9:1553.

Masatli, Z., Nordine, M., Maggioni, M.A., Mendt, S., Hilmer, B., Brauns, K., Werner, A., Schwarz, A., Habazettl, H., Gunga, H.-C., Opatz, O. S. (2018). Gender-Specific cardiovascular reactions to +Gz Interval Training on a short arm human centrifuge. Frontiers in Physiology, 9:1028.