Marschik Lab - Systemic Ethology and Developmental Science

Our research interests center on the development of the young nervous system and its physiological and pathological dimensions. We investigate neurofunctional phenomena (motor, verbal, visual, cognitive and socio-communicative development) in the first and second year of life and examine their biological bases as well as their associations with later developmental outcomes. We aim to explore the structure-function interactions in their age-specific developmental context to distinguish typical from atypical processes and traits at very young ages. Our goal is to contribute to a better understanding of the onset of and pathways into neurodevelopmental disorders and psychiatric diseases. With an advanced neurofunctional biomarker approach*, theoretical modelling (Fingerprint approach) and support of modern technology, we seek to identify early predictors of deviant development, delineate developmental profiles, predict typical and aberrant developmental pathways, and evaluate long-term effects of early intervention.


* Outline of methods: Acquisition of cross-domain neurofunctional phenomena using polygraphic recordings; multisensory assessments and modelling of ontogenetic adaptation in the developmental domains; neurolinguistic and bioacoustic analysis of age-specific (pre)linguistic and communicative behaviours; computer vision; machine learning and functional imaging applications in behavioural biology, etc.

Current projects

  1. Pathway(s) into Social Reciprocity
    SFB 1528; Collaborative Research Center ‘Cognition of Interaction’ - speaker Prof. Alexander Gail, German Primate Center, Georg August University Göttingen
  2. At Elevated Likelihood for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Early Infancy
    DFG - together with Prof. Luise Poustka
  3. IDENTIFIED - Interdisciplinary Delineation of Early Neurodevelopment. Tracing Identifiers for Improving Early Detection
    Volkswagenfoundation - together with Prof. Luise Poustka and Prof. Florentin Wörgötter, Georg August University Göttingen
  4. Survive and Thrive: Perinatal Asphyxia and/or Small for Gestational Age Neonates in Rural India
    Laerdal Foundation - together with Prof. Anders Nordahl-Hansen, Ostfold UC, Prof. Christa Einspieler, Medical University of Graz; Marschik-Lab Graz
  5. The Ontogenetic Adaptation Platform
    Leibniz ScienceCampus - Audacity Award - together with Prof. Alexander Gail, German Primate Center, Prof. Florentin Wörgötter, Georg August University Göttingen
  6. Acoustic Parameters as Diagnostic Markers for Early Detection of Rett Syndrome
    supported by Rett Deutschland e. V. and the Jubilee Fund, Austrian National Bank -in cooperation with: Marschik-Lab Graz
  7. The early phenotype in children with tuberous sclerosis
    supported by Tuberöse Sklerose Deutschland e. V. -together with Dr. Robert Waltereit
  8. Early development in Rett syndrome
    supported by Rett Deutschland e. V., Rett Syndrome Europe - together with Prof. Bernd Wilken, Kassel
  9. The Early Phenotype in Fragile X Syndrome: An Interdisciplinary Approach
    supported by Interessengemeinschaft Fragiles-X e. V.
  10. GMApp - Mobile General Movement Assessment Approach - the Developing Brain and the Developing World at Hand
    continuation of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - Grand Challenges Exploration Award
  11. Tracking General Movements - An Observing-the-Observer Approach to Enhance Clinical Reasoning
    FWF - Austrian Science Fund - in cooperation with: Marschik-Lab Graz
  12. Cerebral palsy detection in infant age directed by embedded modular sensor systems – (BMBF - Medizintechnische Lösungen für eine digitale Gesundheitsversorgung) [Speaker: R. Downes]
  13. European Newborn Study: Early Markers for a Better LifE II - ENSEMBLE-II (Fondation Paralysie Cerebrale) [Speaker: M. Benders]


  • iDN - interdisciplinary Developmental Neuroscience (Marschik-Lab Graz, Medical University of Graz, Austria)
  • Children's Hospital of Fudan University Shanghai, China
  • Ghent University, Belgium
  • Imperial College London, England
  • Karl-Franzens University Graz, Austria
  • Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Murdoch Children's Research Institute and University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Ostfold University College, Halden, Norway
  • Heidelberg University of Education, Germany
  • Technical University of Berlin, Germany
  • Graz University of Technology, Austria
  • University of Augsburg, Germany
  • University of California Los Angeles, UCLA, USA
  • Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
  • Medical University of Vienna, Austria

Selected publications

Krieber-Tomantschger, M; Pokorny, FB; Krieber-Tomantschger, I; Langmann, L; Poustka, L; Zhang, D; Treue, S; Tanzer, NK; Einspieler, C; Marschik, PB; Körner, C. The development of visual attention in early infancy: Insights from a free-viewing paradigm. Infancy. 2022; 27(2):433-458 Doi: 10.1111/infa.12449

Einspieler C, Zhang D, Marschik PB. The Significance of Fetal and Neonatal Spontaneous Movements for Development and Early Identification of Developmental Disorders. Kindh Entwickl 2021, 30(1): 7–15.

Lang S, Zhang D, Poustka L, Bartl-Pokorny KD, Pokorny FB, Bölte S, Sachse S, Mani N, Fox-Boyer AV, Hartung M, Einspieler C, Marschik PB. Early Detection of Developmental Disorders: The role of Canonical Babbling. Kindh Entwickl 2021, 30(1): 15-24.

Einspieler C, Marschik PB. Desideratum: a developmentalist view of Zika virus infection. Lancet Infect Dis. Commentary 2020: 1473-1474.

Einspieler C, Marschik PB. The developmental spectrum of prenatal Zika virus exposure. Lancet Child Adolesc Health. Commentary 2020, 4(5): 345-346.

Bölte S, Girdler S, Marschik PB. The contribution of environmental exposure to the etiology of autism spectrum disorder. Cell Mol Life Sci 2019, 76(7): 1275-1297.

Boterberg S, Charman T, Marschik PB, Bölte S, Roeyers H. Regression in autism spectrum disorder: A critical overview of retrospective findings and recommendations for future research. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2019, 102(7): 24-55.

Einspieler C, Marschik PB. Regression in Rett syndrome: Developmental pathways to its onset. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2019, 98: 320-332.

Einspieler C, Bos AF, Krieber-Tomantschger M, Alvarado E, Barbosa VM, Bertoncelli N, Burger M, Chorna O, Del Secco S, DeRegnier RA, Hüning B, Ko J, Lucaccioni L, Maeda T, Marchi V, Martín E, Morgan C, Mutlu A, Nogolová A, Pansy J, Peyton C, Pokorny FB, Prinsloo LR, Ricci E, Saini L, Scheuchenegger A, Silva CRD, Soloveichick M, Spittle AJ, Toldo M, Utsch F, van Zyl J, Viñals C, Wang J, Yang H, Yardımcı-Lokmanoğlu BN, Cioni G, Ferrari F, Guzzetta A, Marschik PB. Cerebral palsy: Early markers of clinical phenotype and functional outcome. J Clin Med 2019, 8(10): 1616.

Nielsen-Saines K, Brasil P, Kerin T, Vasconcelos Z, Gabaglia CR, Damasceno L, Pone M, Abreu de Carvalho LM, Pone SM, Zin AA, Tsui I, Salles TRS, da Cunha DC, Costa RP, Malacarne J, Reis AB, Hasue RH, Aizawa CYP, Genovesi FF, Einspieler C, Marschik PB, Pereira JP, Gaw SL, Adachi K, Cherry JD, Xu Z, Cheng G, Moreira ME. Delayed childhood neurodevelopment and neurosensory alterations in the second year of life in a prospective cohort of ZIKV-exposed children. Nat Med 2019, 25(8): 1213-1217.

Zhang D, Bedogni F, Boterberg S, Camfield C, Camfield P, Charman T, Curfs L, Einspieler C, Esposito G, De Filippis B, Goin-Kochel RP, Höglinger GU, Holzinger D, Iosif AM, Lancioni GE, Landsberger N, Laviola G, Marco EM, Müller M, Neul JL, Nielsen-Saines K, Nordahl-Hansen A, O'Reilly MF, Ozonoff S, Poustka L, Roeyers H, Rankovic M, Sigafoos J, Tammimies K, Townend GS, Zwaigenbaum L, Zweckstetter M, Bölte S, Marschik PB. Towards a consensus on developmental regression. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2019, 107: 3-5.

Lopes Moreira ME, Nielsen-Saines K, Brasil P, Kerin T, Damasceno L, Pone M, Carvalho LMA, Pone SM, Vasconcelos Z, Ribeiro IP, Zin AA, Tsui I, Adachi K, Gaw SL, Halai UA, Salles TS, da Cunha DC, Bonaldo MC, Raja Gabaglia C, Guida L, Malacarne J, Costa RP, Gomes SC, Reis AB, Soares FVM, Hasue RH, Aizawa CYP, Genovesi FF, Aibe M, Einspieler C, Marschik PB, Pereira JP, Portari EA, Janzen C, Cherry JD. Neurodevelopment in infants exposed to Zika virus in utero. N Engl J Med 2018, 379(24): 2377-2379.

Marschik PB, Lemcke S, Einspieler C, Zhang D, Bölte S, Townend GS, Lauritsen MB. Early development in Rett syndrome - the benefits and difficulties of a birth cohort approach. Dev Neurorehabil 2018, 21(1): 68-72.

Pokorny FB, Bartl-Pokorny KD, Einspieler C, Zhang D, Vollmann R, Bölte S, Gugatschka M, Schuller BW, Marschik PB. Typical vs. atypical: Combining auditory Gestalt perception and acoustic analysis of early vocalisations in Rett syndrome. Res Dev Disabil 2018, 82(6): 109-119.

Roche L, Zhang D, Bartl-Pokorny KD, Pokorny FB, Schuller BW, Esposito G, Bölte S, Roeyers H, Poustka L, Gugatschka M, Waddington H, Vollmann R, Einspieler C, Marschik PB. Early vocal development in autism spectrum disorder, Rett syndrome, and fragile X syndrome: Insights from studies using retrospective video analysis. Adv Neurodev Disord 2018, 2(1): 49-61.

Zhang D, Roche L, Bartl-Pokorny KD, Krieber M, McLay L, Bölte S, Poustka L, Sigafoos J, Gugatschka M, Einspieler C, Marschik PB. Response to name and its value for the early detection of developmental disorders: Insights from autism spectrum disorder, Rett syndrome, and fragile X syndrome. A perspectives paper. Res Dev Disabil 2018, 82(6): 95-108.

Zhang D, Poustka L, Marschik PB, Einspieler C. The onset of hand stereotypies in fragile X syndrome. Dev Med Child Neurol 2018, 60(10): 1060-1061.

Marschik PB, Zhang D, Esposito G, Bölte S, Einspieler C, Sigafoos J. Same or different: Common pathways of behavioral biomarkers in infants and children with neurodevelopmental disorders? Behav Brain Sci 2017, 40: e64.

Marschik PB, Pokorny FB, Peharz R, Zhang D, O'Muircheartaigh J, Roeyers H, Bölte S, Spittle AJ, Urlesberger B, Schuller B, Poustka L, Ozonoff S, Pernkopf F, Pock T, Tammimies K, Enzinger C, Krieber M, Tomantschger I, Bartl-Pokorny KD, Sigafoos J, Roche L, Esposito G, Gugatschka M, Nielsen-Saines K, Einspieler C, Kaufmann WE, BEE-PRI Study Group. A novel way to measure and predict development: A heuristic approach to facilitate the early detection of neurodevelopmental disorders. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 2017, 17(5): 43-43.

Brasil P, Pereira JP, Moreira ME, Ribeiro Nogueira RM, Damasceno L, Wakimoto M, Rabello RS, Valderramos SG, Halai UA, Salles TS, Zin AA, Horovitz D, Daltro P, Boechat M, Raja Gabaglia C, Carvalho de Sequeira P, Pilotto JH, Medialdea-Carrera R, Cotrim da Cunha D, Abreu de Carvalho LM, Pone M, Machado Siqueira A, Calvet GA, Rodrigues Baião AE, Neves ES, Nassar de Carvalho PR, Hasue RH, Marschik PB, Einspieler C, Janzen C, Cherry JD, Bispo de Filippis AM, Nielsen-Saines K. Zika virus infection in pregnant women in Rio de Janeiro. N Engl J Med 2016, 375(24): 2321-2334.


Dr. Dajie Zhang MSc (head of laboratory)
Dr. Tomas Kulvicius (technical team leader)
PD Dr. Christiane Theodossiou-Wegner (Senior Scientist)
Dr. Sigrun Lang (Post-Doc)
Lennart Jahn (PhD project assistant)
Claudius Widmann MSc (PhD project assistant)
Franka Foth MSc (PhD project assistant)
Prof. Dr. Christa Einspieler (Senior Member)
Clara Meigen (Master student)
Sarah Flügge (Master student)
Isabelle Laura Bonnet (Master student)
Lea Boros (Bachelor student)
Omer Nissimov (research assistant)
Nina Marie Hansmann (research assistant)

Alumni and Incoming Scientists
Dr. Simon Reich 
Dr. Sofie Boterberg (Ghent University, Belgium)
Dr. Dunia Garrido (University of Granada, Spain)
Fedja Nieporte (research assistant)


Head of Research

Prof. Dr. Dr. Peter B. Marschik

Prof. Dr. Dr. Peter B. Marschik


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