Open Letter Regarding the Max Planck Society’s Actions Against MPI-BC Director Prof. Logothetis

 [Note: This letter is from scientists, some of whom are members of the Speaking of Research committee. They include:  Allyson J. Bennett, J. David Jentsch, Juan Carlos Marvizon, Amanda M. Dettmer, Jeremy Bailoo, Marcello Rosa, and Roberto Caminiti. We welcome other scientists and advocates to join us in signing this letter by adding their names and support comments. To do so, scroll to the end of the post to share in the comment box. An email address is required to comment/sign on, but it will not be published.

For those interested in additional information and detail, we urge you to read news links and our previous post.]

Update 8/5/18: A number of scientific organizations have now posted public letters of concern to MPS. A letter from the STAR coalition is posted here, along with links to the joint statement of the Society for Neuroscience and Federation of European Neuroscience Societies. We welcome other scientific and research advocacy groups who have written letters and statements of concern to add links in the comments below, or to email us.

Update 8/27/18: The Max Planck Society, has responded with this letter, which is also posted in a public update to the FENS/SFN letter of concern. Professor Logothetis has responded to MPS’s letter .


The actions taken by the Max Planck Society (MPS) against the director of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (MPI-BC, Tübingen), Prof. Nikos K. Logothetis, are alarming and jeopardize fundamental research that is critically essential for understanding how cells in the brain process information and give rise to normal and abnormal thought and behavior.

The methodological developments and research discoveries of the Logothetis group are highly influential across the world, as they have significantly advanced our understanding of brain function and malfunction. The Logothetis department is certainly one of the most successful MPI-BC departments. For over two decades, this department has been extraordinarily productive, becoming the department of MPI-BC with the most cited publications (representing one metric of how substantially a research project influences others). Prof. Logothetis’ discoveries and scientific productivity are coupled with his leadership in highly regarded, continuous, and strong efforts to improve animal welfare during the conduct of crucial basic neuroscience research. The institute’s website documents these actions  in detail. Further, Prof. Logothetis has a long history of communication and openness, contributing to public understanding of neuroscience research through providing accessible public information.

For all of these reasons, it is stunning that following a laboratory infiltration by an animal activist, the MPS failed to provide immediate and substantial protection and support for the scientists. Most recently, MPS has acted in a manner that suggests they are publicly incriminating Prof. Logothetis. They have done so by removing his overall responsibility for animal research at MPI-BC, and by banning him from conducting experiments with animals, or from supervising others doing such work. MPS’ actions are deeply troubling with respect to process, precedent, and fairness. Moreover, such actions are also in contrast to the well-known autonomy of all Max Planck Institutes.

The entirety of events over the 2014-current period can be summarized as follows and they have  been written about at length elsewhere (links here, here, here also contain additional detail and further information). In brief, in 2014 an animal rights activist infiltrated the institute and filmed over 100 hours of the daily life of nonhuman primates within a period of approximately 6 months. An edited selection of less than 20 minutes of that footage was then aired on German television, to show out-of-context, selected scenes, such as those showing the behavior of an animal with a rare brain injury following surgery. No technology and no regulations – whether in human patients or animals – can possibly guarantee that surgical procedures are risk-free. This is a fact that is explicitly discussed and acknowledged in any experimental protocol and before any human surgery. Indeed, the balance of these risks with the potential benefit of research is embedded within the framework for ethical decisions about research. Moreover, immediately after the 2014 documentary was broadcast, an external specialist appointed by the MPS leadership found no welfare violations at MPI-BC. As reported in Science in 2015: “Investigations by the Max Planck Society and animal protection authorities in the state of Baden-Württemberg found no serious violations of animal care rules.”

The subsequent decisions and actions of MPS appear to ignore these facts. The Society elected not to take legal action against the infiltrator and MPS also decided not to request that the videos taken by the infiltrator be made publicly available (which would have clearly shown the true state of the animals), and not to immediately declare its support of Prof. Logothetis. In fact, Prof. Logothetis eventually decided to terminate his nonhuman primate research because of abusive extremist behaviors by anti-animal research activists and the inability, or unwillingness, of his own organization to provide sufficient support.

MPS continues its decision-making that is of deep concern to the scientific community. In what appears to be an unprecedented move, the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) visit to the Institute was cancelled at the “last minute” (as reported here by Nature). The SAB is part of the scientific review process within the German research institutions’ system and the board is comprised of external scientists, experts in the field of study. The cancellation was made on the basis of the claim that MPS leadership wanted to uncouple the SAB visit from a court process related to allegations by an anti-animal research group, including a penal order, or (Strafbefehl), “a simplified procedure for coping with slight crime by means of a written penalty order.” In this case, the penal order is being challenged by Logothetis as wrongly given and thus, will not be resolved without hearing by the court. The time at which that will occur is unknown. In the meantime, the SAB cancellation by MPS has had serious deleterious consequences to other scientists at the MPI, to their careers, and to their research.

We believe that the failure of world renowned and respected organizations to protect science and scientists raises serious concerns that will affect the larger public by compromising scientific progress and medical advances. We therefore urge MPS and others to consider the consequences of these decisions and to restore the functional rights of the Logothetis department in the MPI-BC.

More broadly, we urge the scientific community to address the fact that there are no widely-accepted standards for institutional response to campaigns and actions by anti-animal research groups that target individual scientists. Laboratory infiltrations, release of edited videotapes, and unfounded or minor animal welfare complaints are some of the many tactics used to distort facts and thereby diminish public support for ethical, humanely-conducted research with animals. The risks involved with such work cannot be assumed solely by scientists. Rather, it should be their institutions, scientific organizations, and the broader scientific community who together must share the burden and be prepared to defend and support scientific research. Professor Roberto Caminiti’s recent letter in Nature provides a timely and useful illustration of effective support from an institution.

The situation also raises concern and questions about the relative silence of many other animal researchers, particularly in Germany. Is there a fear of reprimand by the MPS, directly or indirectly? For those who remain silent, or those who believe this is an isolated case without potential to affect other research, there are many things to consider. Among them: Is the new philosophy and standard for research implied by the MPS actions meant to be that no risks are acceptable?  If so, what are the consequences of a risk-free philosophy, not only if one is adopted by MPS, but also as a precedent for science more broadly?  There are risks in scientific research, just as in all human endeavors. If the precedent set by MPS and the events unfolding now is that risks are unacceptable, the scientific community as a whole must speak to make clear how this will affect science and the public broadly. That includes serious consideration of what research will not be undertaken, or will be discouraged, and how scientific discoveries and medical advances will be jeopardized. These are consequences that extend far beyond MPS.

We urge scientists and scientific organizations together to call on MPS to change their course and provide immediate and visible response to the grave concerns and questions raised here.


164 thoughts on “Open Letter Regarding the Max Planck Society’s Actions Against MPI-BC Director Prof. Logothetis

  1. Dr. Nikos Logothetis has made a really great contribution in neuroscience. I fully support him with the letter and hope very much that MPS will take correct action.

    Vassiliy Tsytsarev, Ph.D.
    University of Maryland

  2. I fully support Nikos Logothetis, and this open letter. It is critical that research institutions defend their scientists and their science. And it is also critical that they be perceived by all as willing and eager to do so. Performance by the MPS of this important duty appears to be sadly lacking in this case.

  3. Nikos Logothetis has set the highest standards in both research and animal welfare and has been promoting as much as anyone else scientific openness and the public understanding of science. His research contributions have often been ground-breaking and he has aimed to provide ethical alternatives such as non-invasive animal MRI in animal experimentation. His surgical facilities are second to none. Animal surgeries have been conducted either by trained medical doctors or by himself after being trained by human surgeons of the highest calibre. The methods he uses have been imitated across the world for being of the highest standard. It is very difficult to understand how the personal actions of an animal activist with no actual record of either scientific achievements or advancements in animal welfare are being supported so much more than the real advancement of scientific progress and true animal welfare. I extend my feelings of sincere empathy to him and his family for what they have endured these last few years. I am saddened by the damage done to his scientific research and I would like to add my small voice in urging the Max Planck Society to stand for Science.

  4. I totally agree with the content of the open letter and with the comments made. Attacking animal research fully compliant with strict ethical principles will have severe negative consequences on scientific development and on society.

  5. I fully support this open letter and urge the MPS to support Dr Logothetis research and to adopt proactive measures to protect scientists from the harassment and attacks of animal rights activists.

  6. The decision of the MPS not to support Nikos Logothetis against the unlawful attacks of animal rights terrorists is, simply, shameful. More worryingly, it is an example of the indecent conduct of the MPS – an institution which, despite having a glorious and well-respected past, seems now to care more about its image in front of a largely uneducated public and the favour of politicians who are largely not guided by the same objectives of science.

    I wholeheartedly support this letter, and urge the MPS to firmly stand by Nikos and the outstanding team of people who have been trained under his superb supervision. There is no need to highlight once more the scientific and human value of one of the most talented and creative neuroscientists of our time.

  7. I fully agree with this open letter. As someone who is not part of the neuroscientific community, I would like to support Nikos as a personal friend. I do have an academic background in the humanities though, and I share the disappointing experience of managerial opportunism and cowardice in organisations in general, along with a certain lack of top-down loyalty inside the academic system in particular. Therefore I find it scandalous how MPG refuses to support their fellow scientist who is without any doubt one of the world’s most influential and renowned authorities in his field of research. In my opinion, it would be the least to expect from MPG to provide Nikos with the help and support he deserves, juridically, as well as morally, as well as by means of communication/press/media etc. They should stand strong and protect their guy, instead of what? Letting him down. It’s a shame.

  8. I also second the comments posted in the open letter. Nikos Logothetis’ work is a benefit for people suffering neurological diseases. Being a Non-human Primate Veterinarian, my colleagues and I have had such incursions into our work which was subsequently interrupted. May those charged with handling this delicate case view it with a healer’s attitude for the sake of Prof, his students/staff and the benficiaries of his research efforts

  9. I fully support this this open letter. Dr. Logothetis has always been my role model ever since I start my scientific career. I sincerely hope the MPS will finally stand behind and provide support to one of its most accomplished scientists.

  10. I strongly support this letter. Nikos Logothetis is a world leading neuroscientist who has long maintained the highest standards of animal care.
    Abdul Haque Ansari
    College of Medicine
    Texila American University
    Providence, East Bank Demerara

  11. I agree with the comments. Dr. Logothetis is incredibly deserving of support and it is dismaying to hear about how unsupportive the various institutions have been.

  12. I fully support this open letter.
    I hope that MPS will finally do the right thing and stand behind one of its most accomplished scientists, who was acting in good faith and with great diligence to advance the scientific mission of MPS and benefit society.

  13. Robert Wurtz, Distinguished Scientist Emeritus, NIH

    I strongly support the letter. I have visited Niko’s lab, seen his experiments and found them outstanding, seen the care of his animals and found them excellent. In addition, Nikos has been the role model for explaining the significance of his research, and for showing publicly the procedures used in his experiments. For this, his reward by the Max Planck Society has been abandonment coupled with any attempt to show the immense contribution of its own scientist. These are sad days for science and sadder still for the Society.

  14. I am astonished by the lack of spine shown by MPS, and its unjustifiable capitulation to perceived public opinion before due process was followed. Its failure to support one of its most successful neuroscientists even after its own internal investigation found no wrong-doing is outrageous. I fully support the sentiments expressed in this open letter.

  15. I fully support Prof Logothetis and agree with the letter. Logothetis has made enormous contributions to an important field. He has also pioneered improvements in animal welfare – it is ironic that he of all people should be singled out for this unfair treatment, and represents a triumph for dishonesty over honesty. Why the MPS has not provided strong support is inexplicable.

  16. I strongly support this letter. Nikos Logothetis is a world leading neuroscientist who has long maintained the highest standards of animal care. The failure of the Max Planck Society to support the Logothetis laboratory is inexcusable.

  17. Having spend a very significant portion of my scientific career in the lab of Nikos Logothetis and the MPS I am really astonished by the ongoing events and I feel very awkward. From personal experience and as evident from all the comments to this letter, there is absolutely no doubt about the scientific quality and very important results that came out of Nikos’ laboratory. Most importantly, however, his laboratory has been the forerunner and has set new pioneering standards for non-human primate animal welfare worldwide. I find the stance of the MPS in this situation completely off ground. In my view, these actions are damaging not only my scientific mentor but also an organisation that is close to my heart.

    Georgios A. Keliris
    Assistant Professor
    University of Antwerp
    Bio-Imaging Lab
    Faculty of FBD
    Campus Drie Eiken
    Universiteitsplein 1 – 2610 Antwerp – Belgium

  18. It is a pity to see what the green-red policies are able to put up to science and an outright disgrace to our country in general. This applies also to their ideological influence concerning global warming, limit values for trace gases and the refugees problem.

  19. I fully support this letter. Nonhuman primate research should be subjected to the strictest ethical standards which is precisely why it is so disheartening to see how the MPS handled this situation given that Pr Logothetis is notorious for being one of the world most careful experimentalists. This will undoubtedly have extremely damaging consequences for research in general. Is it really necessary to remind administrators at the top echelons of MPS that understanding the brain, and its disorders, is simply hopeless without nonhuman primate research?

  20. The case Logothetis is a very prominent manifestation of how dependent science is from society, politics and mainstream thoughts today – in a more and more independent and educated society one may wonder?! It demonstrates: We lack an open and transparent discussion concerning need, costs, and concerns of basic research. As a consequence, individual researcher and persons are confronted with intimidating hostility and are not protected and supported by their institutions or policies. The discussion should not circle around individual researchers unless serious negligence. Nikos Logothetis is undoubtly one of the leading internationl brian researcher and has set the experimental gold standards of primate research. His urge to optimize the conditions for animal research has significantly contributed to the highest ethical and moral standards of justifiability we do have and need to do primate research in Europe compared to many other countries. How unfortunate that now exactly him is in this discussion that is off focus and mainly centers around his own person. Basic science is irreplaceable for our knowledge-based society. We need to protect it with an open and transparent discussion supported and led by policy and the significant research stakeholders.

    1. I support Dr. Logothetis and the letter. Why?
      All this is related to the low standing of top performers in the society and the missing influence of science on politics. I see an increasing loss of any serious dispute in the official media and society (including other fields as climate, NO, etc). At the end- this is part of Germany’s ruin!

  21. I fully support Nikos Logothetis and this open letter.

  22. Prof. Logothetis is a leading, world-class neuroscientist and among the most distinguished members of the Max Planck Society, as explained in this Open Letter. Over the past decades, his research has resulted in numerous scientific and technical advances, including how brain circuits enable perception, learning, and cognition, as well as the neural basis of fMRI signals. Critically, these magnificent feats were achieved by adhering to the highest standards in ethical use of experimental animals and transparent communication with the public. These standards are well known to the Max Planck Society and verified by independent scientific advisory boards of the MPI-BC and numerous visitors to the institute. Prof. Logothetis deserves nothing but full and unconditional support of the MPS. Further, the MPS leadership should understand that what’s at stakes is not just fair treatment of one of the scientific leaders within its society but the reputation of the whole society, especially its commitment to animal research as an essential means for advancing modern medicine. The response of MPS will have strong ramifications for its future as a leading scientific society, and the future of science in general. The international scientific community is watching closely and, as evidenced by endorsements of this Open Letter, demands clear and strong actions to support Prof. Logothetis and his research.

  23. Nikos has contributed greatly to the field of neuroscience, and deserves the support of his colleagues and scientific institutions.

  24. According to its web site, the Max Planck Society states that it “provides one of the best environments for top scientists” to “understand our world.” Those goals are indeed critical to human advancement and health. Yet the MPS actions do not reflect its words. It has failed to support its own world leading scientist — Dr. Logothetis — even though he has worked diligently and tirelessly within established research guidelines to actually deliver deeply important components of that understanding of the natural world. I urge the MPS to bring its counterproductive actions into alignment with its words and goals.

  25. Dr. Logothetis and researchers like him deserve support and gratitude from all of us for their tireless commitment to scientific inquiry for the good of others. In addition, institutions must strongly defend and support scientific research and be transparent in their decisions that affect researchers who are the focus of activist campaigns.

  26. I know from personal experience that the research in Dr Logothetis’ lab has been characterised by both meticulous attention to the welfare and dignity of the animals and a level of technical expertise that is absolutely world class. His work has been critical to the development of functional neuroimaging for over 20 years and has led to numerous breakthroughs across the domain. His treatment by the MPS has been astonishing. Apart from anything else, it sends a strong message to the global neuroscience community to avoid working for, or with, this institution in the future if at all possible.

  27. It is untenable that the MPS is willing to work against a respected scientist within their own ranks but is unable to stop animal rights terrorists. This case could shape the face of neuroscience for years to come. So let me be clear, the actions of these terrorists and regrettably of the MPS, are changing neuroscience for the worse and I stand against them. Therefore, I support this open letter in support of Prof. Logothetis and the ongoing endeavour of humane animal experiments.

  28. I fully support Nikos Logothetis, and this open letter.

  29. I would like to express my support to Prof. Logothetis. Furthermore, as a young scientist, I would like to express my great concern about the future of the science intermingled with politics (no matter whether left-wing or alternative facts) and an apparent lack of protection even from such renowned institutions as MPS.

    1. I would like to express my support for Prof. Nikos Logothetis. His research and leadership in the field have inspired me for many years. I am confident that his scientific integrity and animal care are of the highest standards. It is both infuriating and disappointing that the MPS doesn’t back and protect its own researchers.

  30. I fully support Nikos Logothetis and this open letter. The reaction of the Max-Planck society is a shame-
    Let’s strive to be more open about animal research, and ask for support in this not only from our scientific organizations, but also from the public. It is up to us to remove the soil from the targeted misinformation of so-called animal rights activists.

  31. As a former student of Nikos, I feel sad for these issues, which already started to simmer many years ago, have escalated. Nikos is an amazing scientist and one would certainly expect all the support from the institution that hosts him that they humanely provide. It’s particularly sad if one compares this to the backing for Max Planck directors involved in the mistreatment of students. If Nikos were accused of student abuse instead, the whole thing would play out differently.

  32. I strongly support Dr. Logothetis. He is an outstanding scientist and laboratory leader and of the highest ethical standards. An attack on him is an attack on science itself.

  33. As a former postdoc at The MPI for Developmental Biology and as a neuroscientist whose research involves animal models of human neurodegenerative conditions, I regret the lack of support of The Max-Planck-Society to Prof. Logothetis and, as a consequence of that, to the research community.

  34. I fully support Nikos Logothetis, and the exhortations of this open letter. Careful, ethical animal research is essential to advancing our understanding of the fundamental truths of living systems and for developing treatments to alleviate human suffering. The actions of MPI are unjust and undermine its mission. The lack of a strong statement of support for Dr. Logothetis and animal research in general by MPI and its peer institutions also send a signal to young scientists around the world that Germany is not a place to consider a career in life science research.

  35. I agree with this letter. I do not know how MPS made these decisions, but this failure to support Dr. Logothetis and his colleagues could have serious negative impacts on the future of science. They should not create a bad precedent of banning researches without any violations of rules.

  36. I fully support this letter. The entire situation is an utter disgrace for one of the most distinguished neuroscientists and his team. Moreover, the way the situation has been handled so far will reinforce illegal activities of certain individuals, who seemingly can get away both successfully and uncharged.

  37. While Nikos Logothetis’ enormous contributions to neuroscience are not in doubt, the ramifications of the MPS’ failure to act thoughtfully in his case are much wider. We live in a time when science has been brought under siege by unthinking populists around the world. This makes it all the more critical that scientific organisations act openly, with probity, and on the basis of sound evidence. That the MPS appears not to have done so here is arguably a betrayal of its fundamental scientific mission.

  38. I fully support this open letter on behalf of Nikos Logothetis. Along with the many foundational scientific contributions he has made he has also been an enthusiastic and encouraging inspiration for many generations of neuroscientists. It is inexplicable that the Max Planck Society would not forcefully stand behind him and his creative, rigorous, ethical and highly productive approach to understanding the brain.

  39. I support this letter and the comments above. Nikos Logothetis has been a leader in neuroscience research for many years. When the Max Planck Society invests in animal research, it then has a responsibility to support the scientists who carry out the research. If unwilling to do the latter, they should not do the former.

  40. As President of the Basel declaration Society ; I wholeheartedly support this open letter by Speaking of Animal Research. It cannot be that illegal activities lead to institutes banning primate research without establishment grounds of wrongdoing.
    In fact primate research remains a cornerstone in any biomedical research that will ultimately benefit human health. The Basel Declaration has taken a clear stand on this in the past and continues to do so- for more information on how non-human primate research continues to contribute in an essential manner to improve human health please see:

    Click to access FfL_BioFokus_Spezial_2015.pdf

  41. As a former basic and currently clinical neuroscientist, I always considered Prof. Logothetis’ research among the most relevant and inspiring to understand how the brain works. Researchers like this are necessary not only to understand the normal brain, but also the pathological one and cure or at least help a great number of human patients. Therefore, its work is highly valuable. I cannot understand that a relevant institution as MPS do not support and defence to such prominent scientist. So, I fully support Prof. Logothetis work.

    Jesús Pastor. MD, PhD. Head of Clinical Neurophysiology. Hospital Universitario de La Princesa

  42. Dr. Nikos Logothetis has made an enormous contribution on neuroscience field in improving our understanding of brain function and what we can measure from human brain using non-invasive MRI measurements. His contribution on MRI is indispensable for improving the quality of research conducted in healthy human participants or clinical populations. I fully agree with the letter and urge MPS to take a right action.

  43. I fully support Prof. Logothetis. He has been a true role model for conducting cutting-edge research towards providing most valuable insights into brain function and to benefit human lives. I urge the leaders at MPS to better support him.


    I add my voice in support of my respected colleague, Nikos Logothetis. Nikos is one of the most creative scientists in neuroscience, and his basic research has been and will be highly influential for future new treatments for brain disorders. The Max Planck Society has harassed him in public, and has been hindering creative research that will help future of our society. I urge the MPS to defend its scientists and restore his place, his rights and his honor.

  45. I fully support the letter and previous comments. The research in Dr. Logothetis has been a model for many neuroscientists and includes many major breakthroughs in neuroscience. His work has made great contribution to our society. Therefore, I have been very disappointed by the way this issue has been handled by the MPS, and hope that he would receive stronger support from his institution.

  46. I support this letter fully. Nikos has been an inspiration to neuroscience for his creativity, for the excellence of his techniques, and for his transparency. I urge the MPI to support him fully and reinstate his full research effort.

  47. I fully support Prof. Nicos Logothetis, who has been an inspiration to neuroscientists for many years because of both the quality and integrity of his research. I am disappointed and frightened that the Max Plank Society has abandoned their responsibility to protect him. In the end, their actions (and lack thereof) speak much louder than their flowery, yet apparently empty, statements of mission and history:

    “Following in the footsteps of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, the Max Planck Society can now look back on more than one hundred years of successful traditions as an environment where free science can unfold… It is not only the people who work at the MPG and not only the experts of the German scientific system who appreciate the value of the flexible, forward-looking decision-making and supervisory structures at the MPG which, at the same time, are repeatedly designed to promote reflection and discussion. The scientific world beyond Germany, too, looks with the greatest respect on an organization that, like few others, stands for the aspiration to offer a home to excellent science embedded in liberal but rule-based responsibility. “ (from Basic Research and Rule-Based Responsibility: on the Governance of the Max Planck Society”).

    Prof. Logothetis deserves the backing of the organization described in that statement, not the cowardice of the one that exists in reality.

  48. I fully support this letter and the critique of MPS.
    Dr Nikos Logothetis is one of the most very creative and respected neuroscientists of our time, making fundamental contributions to systems neuroscience at the technical, analytical and conceptual levels.

  49. Nikos Logothetis is not only one of the most creative and truly outstanding neuroscientists, but also he was one of the pioneers introducing humane animal treatment in neuroscience – both key reasons for me and others to respect him so highly. It is a tragedy that of all labs, his got hit so hard by animal rights activists – the true blow though was the inexplicable and inexcusable lack of support for him by his own funding body, the Max Planck Society (MPS). A stark reminder to all of us to value the freedom we have in conducting basic science, and to stand up to defend this freedom strong and loud. Constructive, public criticism on MPS is required to bring them back to the righteous path!

  50. I fully agree with the letter and its conclusions. My full support to Prof. Logothetis is expressed here, also as a recognition of his spectacular and unique contributions to the understanding of brain function. The lack of support from the institution in the present case is a dramatic example of how devastating it can be. Researchers strongly depend on institutional support in order to pursue their work in a stimulating, productive, ethical and safe environment. For this reason, it remains crucial to keep close contact between our labs, our work and the hierarchy of the institution, in order to involve the head of the institution in the defense of the scientists in case of such events.

  51. Charles Jennings, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

    I write to express my support for Nikos Logothetis, and my dismay at the lack of support that he has apparently received from MPS. As a former editor at Nature and Nature Neuroscience I am proud to have helped publish several of Nikos’s important papers. He has made major contributions to our understanding of brain function, based on his work with non-human primates, and his forced withdrawal from this field is a setback to the advancement of science. We cannot hope to understand human brain function without animal models, and primate models provide insights into fundamental questions about our own brains and minds that could not be obtained any other way. The answers to these questions will also have enormous practical importance for the understanding and eventual treatment of brain diseases, especially psychiatric disorders, which cause untold human suffering. These are ‘systems-level’ disorders that remain poorly understood and cannot be adequately modeled in simpler systems. It is unfortunate that MPS has not been more supportive of Nikos and his work. Perhaps some of the fault lies with us, the scientific community, for not making a more effective case to the public – but MPS is the most important funder of biomedical research in Germany, and we might have hoped that MPS would take more steps to lead, rather than merely follow, public opinion, when faced with attacks on one of its most distinguished scientists and on a vital field of scientific inquiry.

  52. It is sad to see how respected scientists are treated following a misinformed representation of experiments. I am fully supportive of reopening this case and clearing Dr. Nikos of any wrong doings>

  53. I think MPG needs to immediately re-evaluate its position in the case of Nikos Logothetis and provide him with all the support his great work deserves.

  54. Full support to Prof. Logothetis and his lab members. They deserve full support from their institution. Animal experiments are absolutely essential to understand human pathologies.

  55. I fully agree with the content of this open letter and express my support to Prof. Logothetis.

  56. I completely support this letter and Prof. Logothetis, and would like also to challenge the MPS handling of Dr Logothetis case.

  57. I consider the actions taken by the Max Planck Society against Prof. Nikos K. Logothetis of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (MPI-BC, Tübingen, Germany) an outrage.

  58. I would like to fully support this letter and challenge the MPS handling of Dr Logothetis case. I consider Prof. Logothetis sincerely the best Scientist and human person that I ever met and I hope that the MPS authorities manage soon to correct the situation and support him.

  59. I was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (including the Logothetis department) for five years. I know the scientific work and the animal care standards of MPI Biological Cybernetics intimately. Without a doubt the Logothetis laboratory is one of the leading research labs in systems neuroscience in the world. Logothetis’s contributions to our understanding of systems-level brain function have been numerous and important. At the same time, Logothetis has been one of the most outspoken scientists I know in explaining to the public why and how he does his research, and why it is important for all of us. Remarkably, Logothetis has made video recordings of his standard research procedures with nonhuman primates publicly available on his lab web site for many years. I have followed the current saga carefully since the original events in 2014, and I agree—essentially 100%—with the detailed critique in the Speaking of Research open letter. From my point of view, the Max Planck Society has behaved extremely poorly in the Logothetis affair, with results that will be damaging for biological science in Europe for years if not decades to come.

  60. I will support Dr Nikos Logothetis and this letter. How he contributed to science field and the society should be also provided in a clear way.

  61. I would like to support this letter and challenge the MPS handling of Dr Logothetis case. It is a deep blemish on the German scientific community.

  62. I fully support the content of this letter and urge MPS to publicly acknowledge the work of Professor Nikos Logothetis. His contributions have opened up new horizons in neuroscientific research for decades and deserves institutional support and protection.

  63. I support Nikos’s research and have long admired his advocacy for the humane treatment of nonhuman primates in neuroscience research. I do not understand the position of the Max Planck Society. Based on my limited interaction with MPS (20 years after Josef Rausheker’s experience), I would have expected them to support Nikos and to endorse the principles espoused in the comments above.

  64. I fully support the open letter and the important research of Prof. Logothetis. Biomedical and neuroscientific research advances as well as many pharmacological therapies and treatments in human medicine would not be possible nowadays without the invaluable use of animals, always with required ethical considerations.
    Xavier Gasull, PhD

  65. The clearest agreement in this discussion is the exceptional work of Nikos Logothetis.
    Soon or later Nikos will “beat” and this is to a great extent ensured by his work and his undoubted global recognition.

    The fact that Nikos kept all the predicted principles on the use of experimental animals makes the Foundation’s behavior even more questionable and non-democratic.

    However, is the support to a scientist only a matter of excellence?
    Or we must develop a position to protect those who are most at risk and deserve “relentless support from the scientific community and society at large”?

    What if Nikos was an unknown scientist as many young scientists are? As Josef Rauschecker was at that time.
    Do we leave them to darkness? Is this a democratic behavior? Ultimately, do we even care about it?
    If yes, then we must first put forward the democratic principles that should be respected (also) in science.

    Even if science is an unnatural human affair (Lewis Wolpert) and because of the fact that the most positive aspects of scientific activity flourish in a democratic social framework, as millennia of human action show, and even if democracy is a vision rather a reality, is worthwhile to try to render natural (at least or first) the acceptance of democratic principles also in the social place of science.

  66. I fully agree with the content of this open letter and express my support to Prof. Logothetis. World needs the knowledge given by animal research. Research institutions have to give support to scientists, as Prof. Logothetis, who work respecting animals and do not condemn them and animal research to the ostracism.

  67. I fully support the content of this open letter. Prof Logothetis’ and his lab members’ deserve utmost respect and relentless support from the scientific community and society at large.

  68. Dr. Logothetis dedicated his life to understanding the brain. The energy, time, and sacrifices required to answer questions about neural circuits, or even to identify the right questions to ask, are beyond what most people can imagine — but Nikos has embraced this way of life for as long as I’ve known him (nearly 30 years). He has been a pioneer in advancing technology in neuroscience and expanding our understanding of the intricate links between vision, cognition, and behavior. I fully support this open letter and ask the MPS to reconsider their position. Nikos has earned the respect of neuroscientists world-wide and should be honored, defended, and supported at home.

  69. I have made my own experiences with the Max Planck Society when, in 1989, I was attacked by Animal Rights activists. I was only a junior scientist at the MPI for Biological Cybernetics in Tuebingen, but I was completely left alone by the MPS at that time as well. My case wasn’t as egregious as that of Nikos Logothetis, but it made me leave my home country with my family, including two little boys, and find a new home in the U.S., which welcomed me with open arms. More scientists will leave Europe if this attitude continues. What would Max Planck and Albert Einstein say?

  70. The actions by the MPS against Dr. Logothetis are shameful and should be reversed immediately. He leads a great lab, his work has transformed neuroscience and this decision is disastrous for many reasons, including the reputation of the MPS.

    I fully support this open letter and urge the MPS to support Dr Logothetis research and to adopt measures to protect scientists from the harassement and attacks of animal rights activists.

  72. I fully support Dr. Logothetis, and find it shameful to see the Max Planck Society shrinking from its duty to defend rationality and facts over bigotry and disinformation.

  73. Prof. César Venero. Psychobiology Department. UNED. Spain
    I fully support the content of this open letter and Prof. Nikos Logothetis´s important research studies.

  74. This is another sign of the crisis of civilization of our age. Animalism has turned into anti-humanism and the political and scientific authorities stick to it without thinking of the consequences of their attitude in the long term. Without primate research we would not have vaccination for the polio virus, blood transfusions would be unsafe, and most treatments for Parkinson’s disease would not be available. The work of Professor Logothetis is beneficial for society as a whole and, if we lived in an enlightened age, he would be defended by the Max Planck Society and the entire German Government. The alignment of German authorities with antivivisectionists and their methods heralds the Dark Ages that are coming again to Europe.

  75. I totally agree with the open letter and I support prof. Logothetis
    Albert Giralt PhD

  76. I admire and back Nikos Logothetis brave struggle to defend his research work. His contributions to Neuroscience are outstanding, fundamental and brilliant. What he deserves from his institution, and from colleagues, is appreciation and support, not mistrust and abandonment. It is very troubling that the treacherous actions of an infiltrator in Logothetis’ lab resulted a rosary of harassment and scolding, from 2014 to this date.
    A cardinal responsibility of academic and research institutions is to lend protection to their research staff against dishonest and biased attacks. I wish and endorse that Nikos Logothetis is compensated for the damage he has endured and that his research position and responsibilities are fully restored.

  77. I totally agree with the content of the open letter and I express my full support to Prof. Nikos Logothetis and his lab members.

  78. Until legal action and, if pertinent, criminal charges are not filed against people responsible for break-ins and other unlawful threaths, harassments and attacks on legal research, people, projects and premises will keep being shut down. And what is worse, with a shameful passivity on the part of the institutions that should protect them. My full support to Logothetis in this difficult situation.

  79. This is not just another case of a colleague in need of support against the insulting ignorance of a tribe of barbarians. The problem here is that the MPI institution has forgotten its role in defence of science. How will this case be perceived by the young generations of scientists? Perhaps it is time for us to give a severe warning to our authorities . In the mean time, here is another message of personal support to Nikos.

  80. I totally agree with the content of the open letter and with the comments made. Institutions should not act against their scientists of proven solvency without having strong arguments.

  81. I totally support this letter.
    I think the duty of science public societies like MPS is to withstand in defense of their scientist, not to take decisions about guiltiness before a judge has emitted a veredict.

  82. Prof. Jorge L. Arias. Director del INEUROPA. Oviedo. Spain
    I fully support the content of this letter and Nikos Logothetis most relevant research!

  83. This is very personal. Nikos Logothetis has been my doctoral student, many many years ago. I do not want to repeat his scientific achievements; everybody knows that Nikos is an outstanding researcher. And he is also a great academic teacher; he triggers the curiosity and fascination of students like in a recent winter school at the institute were he received his doctoral degree. But there is something else that makes me very sad and furious at the same time.
    The lack of support, the unjustified accusations, have a strong effect on the personal situation. Nobody can sleep in peace anymore if he is threatened to be killed. Of course, all this is also a health challenge. Nikos has been left alone, institutionally and personally. It is impressive how he has dealt during the last years with all these challenges that go beyond his academic responsibilities. Apparently, some institutional representatives do not have a good understanding about what goes on in creative institutes like the one of Nikos. Scientists are not “data-, information-, knowledge-generating robots”. What happens in a society, if the dignity of the citizens no longer is protected? What happens, if an outstanding scientist like Nikos Logthetis is treated like an object, not like a subject? I am ashamed of what has been done to my former doctoral student (who has left his advisor far behind); I am ashamed that in my country the text of Immanuel Kant “What is Enlightenment” seems to be forgotten with his famous words: “aude sapere” – dare to think.

    Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ernst Pöppel, ML, MAE
    Institute of Medical Psychology and Human Science Center,
    Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany

  84. I strongly second all the comments in support given above. Not only is Nikos Logothetis indisputably one of the outstanding scientists of his generation, but he also has a deep unwavering commitment to humane animal care.
    There is a particular irony in the situation that has arisen that I would like to point out. Anyone familiar with the facilities and procedures followed for surgical and postsurgical animal care in the Logothetis’ laboratory can attest that they met the highest of standards, in par with and often exceeding the standards followed by human hospitals for patient care. Indeed, Director Logothetis set up his meticulous animal care and operating manual procedures in close consultation with human practitioners of anesthesia and neurosurgery, including spending many hours of training and observation himself as well as members of his personnel.
    As a physician practicing critical care neurology at Harvard Medical School I can attest from personal experience to the highest standards of animal care maintained at the Logothetis laboratory. In fact, apart from the excellent science, Nikos’ laboratory at MPI was widely regarded as the premier laboratory in the world from the perspective of animal care. Which makes the MPS handling of this episode particularly hard to understand…

  85. I am in complete agreement with this open letter and hope that MPS will reverse the course of their actions. Dr. Logothetis and his colleagues have my full support.

    1. MPS needs to support the excellent work by the Max Plank neuroscience community. Dr. Logethetis and his colleagues have followed all the legal and ethical requirements for animal research in Germany and allowing them to be personally held responsible will set an awful precedent.

  86. I can’t agree more with the many previous comments regarding Dr. Logothetis’s contributions and his integrity regarding his research and animal welfare. The actions by his own governing institution are most alarming and one can only hope that they will be reversed and Dr. Logthetis and his colleagues will be able to continue their very productive work. This MPS action reminds me of a quote attributed to Albert Einstein, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” My own modification of the quote is that it seems there is an effort do something about this action by evil people, but those people who do evil make the world a dangerous place, and in this case it could have a serious deleterious effect on research that could be of great benefit to those suffering from serious neuropsychiatric disorders.

  87. I would like to express all my support to Professor Nikos Logothetis. He is one of the pioneers in the neurosciences domain and his work is of relentless quality ! His experiments led to better brain understanding and evidenced links between differents technologies. His contribution is crucial and I sincerely hope this man of integrity will regains his place very soon.

  88. Nikos Logothetis has been and still is one of the most eminent neuroscientists with many profound and far-reaching contributions from his research in Tübingen with non-human primates. It is ironic that he, who always has been at the forefront of animal welfare concerns and all sorts of technological innovations, is now left unsupported by the MPS after these unlawful infiltrations. I fully support him and this open letter!

  89. I completely agree with this letter and urge the MPS management to make a U-turn. Prof. Logothetis is a wold-class scientist and all his Colleagues in Tubingen are passionate and talented scientists. Neuroscience absolutely needs Tubingen.
    We are also attacked by animal right activist in the French speaking part of Belgium, but manage to show that we are right by being united. The MPS and other scientific societies should make a common statement, reiterating the fact that animal research is needed, is tightly controlled and aims at improving human (and animal) health.

    Vincent Seutin

  90. I fully support the content of this letter and Nikos Logothetis research!

  91. I highly respect Nikos’ world-class science and I am very troubled by the MPG’s handling of the situation – from the very beginning.
    MPG should defend its scientists, not leave them out to the mob.

  92. It is a duty to support Prof. Logothetis, a scientist who has been a source of constant inspiration for all of us. Not only for his brightness and creativity, but also for his personal effort in conducting research on non-human primates in a rigorous fashion, always open to methodological improvements and with animal welfare as a central problem. The disappointing way the MPS is handling this issue illustrates how institutions are often very far from scientists’ needs and from the science they support. This is an offence to the entire community.
    “Une injustice faite à un seul est une menace faite à tous.” Montesquieu (1689)

  93. This matter is about Nikos, of course. But even more it is about the MPS failure as a scientific organization. The MPS counts among its resources access to the judgments of the leading biologists in the world. Yet, the MPS has not defended strongly its committee’s judgment of support; the leadership offers only weak comments and unhelpful actions. The MPS timidly awaits the judgment of politicians whose goals and methods are generally opposed to scientific inquiry.

    Knowing Nikos and the facility, I am fully confident that the science and animal care standards, as judged by several independent experts, are of the highest quality. This evaluation is well known to the MPS and its directors. I find it incomprehensible that the MPS has not used this information to forthrightly support its staff – including Nikos and the excellent young people who work with him. Rather, the MPS leadership passively waits for the anti-science forces to manipulate the media and politicians.

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing (Edmund Burke).

  94. I strongly concur with the statements expressed in the Open Letter (“We believe that the failure of world renowned and respected organizations to protect science and scientists raises serious concerns that will affect the larger public by compromising scientific progress and medical advances. We therefore urge MPS and others to consider the consequences of these decisions and to restore the functional rights of the Logothetis department in the MPI-BC”) and with the many posted comments of support for Professor Logothetis. This is altogether an unbelievable situation.

  95. I give my full support to Nikos Logothetisand his lab members. The letter is right and reflects unacceptable situation within MPI. Nikos Logothetis is the leading scientist in the field and MPI must reconsider its actions. MPI hinders the progress and development of neuroscience acting against its one of the best scientists.

  96. I fully support Nikos Logothetis and his lab members. I absolutely agree with this letter. Nikos Logothetis is one of best neuroscientists of the world, his contribution to the modern state of knowledge in the field is tremendous. The situation when MPI is not supporting its leading scientist is ridiculous and has to be changed. I hope this letter will help.

  97. I fully support this letter with its very serious critique of MPS, and also Dr Logothetis a very creative and respected neuroscientist.

    1. I am also sending every possible support to Nikos and his colleagues. These events are a painful reminder that we all depend upon the support of our institutions at times of trouble, and we must therefore continue to remind them of the importance of animal research, of primate work and of the major contribution that Nikos has made to science.
      Roger Lemon

  98. Institutions and their administrations have a responsibility to their researchers and to the public to support good research that is conducted at the highest standards, in order to advance science. Prof Logothetis has been an influential and highly respected scientist and was one of the first to set high standards in animal care and welfare in his department at MPS. Given that the MPS investigation did not find any serious violations of animal care rules, the Max Planck Society’s lack of full support to Prof Logothetis is disturbing and disappointing. MPS had an excellent opportunity to set an example by discouraging people whose only interest is to promote an anti-research campaign. They didn’t.

    Research conducted in Logothetis’ lab (with the support of MPS) opened new horizons in the study of brain function in health and disease. However, MPS’s recent decision to ban Nikos Logothetis from conducting experiments with animals jeopardizes the future of research and unless it is reversed it will have deleterious effects on the scientific community’s efforts to help people. It was the wrong kind of politics and a short-sighted decision.

    1. I fully supprt the content of this letter and Nikos Logothetis’s research

  99. I fully support the content of this letter and Nikos Logothetis most relevant research!

    1. Costas Papatheodoropoulos
      University of Patras, Greece

      Supporting Nikos Logothetis, protecting scientific research, should be a matter of principle both in the scientific community and more generally in the democratic society. In other words, I think that the lack of addressing the issue by such a central organization of science as the MPS is, by all means, non-scientific and outside the values of democratic society.

  100. Assoc. Prof. of Biology of Behaviour

    Don’t accept bulling in science.
    If we don’t react, tomorrow it’s our turn!

  101. I fully agree with this open letter, and I strongly support Nikos Logothetis’ important research work.

  102. I add my concerns to those expressed here about how the MPS is handling Nikos Logothetis situation, and the impact is having on other scientists. As a scientist we all expect the full support of our institutions.

  103. I add my concerns about MPS is handling Nikos Logothetis situation. As a scientist, I am deeply concerned that this sets a bad precedent in times when we expect the full support of our institutions.

  104. I totally agree and fully support Prof. Nikos Logothetis, this open letter and his lab members!

  105. The MPS expresses a very high sensitivity to wellbeing of experimental animals, but does not seem to consider deteriorating effects of their actions on wellbeing and health of Prof. Logothetis. I find this cynical, nonhuman and cruel for a person who does not deserve it, who has been faithfully serving the MPS, praised this society internationally, and has a rare romantic attitude to science.

  106. I add my support to Nikos. He is one of the most respected figure in neuroscience.
    I hope our letter could help him.

    Giacomo Rizzolatti

  107. I fully support Prof. Logothetidis and I urge the MPS to restore his rights to conduct experiments.

  108. High profile scientists like Dr. Logothetis absolutely deserve the protection of the institutes that benefit from their work.

  109. I add my support to Nikos and to all scientists who are left to confront the misinformation campaigns of those opposing the use of animals in responsible, and well-regulated medical research. It is discouraging to see institutions of higher education and professional organizations fail so miserably time and time again.

  110. I support Nikos Logothetis. He should be allowed to continue his ground-breaking and important research.

  111. Indeed, Dr. Logothetis has been poorly treated. But this issue goes even beyond science. How shall we govern ourselves? Through laws that are democratically agreed upon, and consistently enforced? And perhaps modified, as time and experience teach us, but transparently and with public discussion. The notion that a small minority can raise sensationalist claims and then shut something down under an a priori assumption of guilt, is not only toxic to science, it is toxic to any idea of a stable, rational, and democratic society. Allegations of serious wrongdoing should not be ignored. But mere allegations should not be accepted as proof, and institutions should protect their employees from baseless claims. Instantly caving in to a sudden flash of bad publicity, without due consideration of the facts, is a bad idea and this weakness will be exploited by others.


    I am writing to voice my strongest support of Professor Nikos Logothetis. The Max Planck Society has been extremely shortsighted in handling this matter and stands to alienate the international scientific community. What was done to Dr. Logothetis is unconscionable. I urge MPS to reverse course, even at this late time.

  113. I am in full support of Nikos Logothetis. His predicament shoudl be a warning to all of us and all respectable insitutions that silence in the face of unfounded accusations is not an option. Having been in a similar, if less severe, situation and faced with the same lack of support by my own institution, I want to express my deep support to Nikos Logothetis and this open letter
    Doris J. Doudet
    Dept. Medicine/Neurology
    University of British Columbia

  114. Prof. Logothetis’ research addresses important issues, and the advanced and unique protocols used by his lab have always been paired to great care and respect of the ethics. I hope that MPS will be equally respectful to truth and science.

  115. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — I wish to add my voice in support of my longtime friend and respected colleague. Nikos has indeed earned tremendous respect as a scientist, but it seems to me that is beside the point here. The actions and evident policies of MPS appear arbitrary, harmful, and unjustified regardless of their employee’s scientific achievements. To whom will MPS be accountable? The scientists it is supposed to support? The society it is supposed to serve? Other academic and governmental institutions? Certainly, History will be watching.

  116. Nikos Logothetis is, for good reasons, a world-renowned researcher. He is even known for the exceptionally high quality and enriched nature of his primate housing. So it is particularly bizarre that he is being presumed guilty of mismanagement of his primate care. The failure of MPI to support him is a shameful chapter for MPI and for science. I hope this will soon be corrected.

    Kenneth Miller
    Professor of Neuroscience
    Columbia University
    New York, NY, USA

  117. Professor Nikos Logothetis is a great neuroscientist who has left an extraordinary legacy for future generations of scientists interested in the functioning of the nervous system, especially the visual system. The behavior of Max Planck Society towards him is incomprehensible, unfair and creates a very serious precedent that endangers research with laboratory animals.
    I would like to express my gratitude and unconditional support to Prof. Logothetis.

  118. I fully support Nikos Logothetis and this open letter. The MPS should provide a strong signal supporting the research by N. Logothetis!!

  119. Neither society nor science benefit, when scientists/researchers are disgraced. MPS ought to find a better way to protect its reputation and, at the same time, to support research held in its own institute. It is sad, when politics hurt science. Therefore, I support Pr. Logothetis

  120. Dr Fotini Stylianopoulou, Emeritus Prefessor of Biology, National and Kappodistrian University of Athens, Greece says:

    The way the MPS has treated Dr Logothetis, whose work is seminal for the understanding of brain function, is unacceptable. Decisions based on irrationality and populistic views are dangerous not only for science, but for all mankind, as history has taught us. I hope the MPS will reconsider and give back to Dr. Logothetis all his research privileges.

  121. Prof. Logothetis is one of the greatest and most creative scientists in the world, and his work has been profoundly influential in shaping our understanding of the brain. He has also been a champion of ethical research practices. I am shocked by the cowardice of the MPI in not taking legal action against the infiltrator and in banning Prof. Logothetis from conducting experiments with animals. The fundamental principle of science is to always follow truth, not convenience. The actions of the MPI violate this principle in an egregious way that harms not only Prof. Logothetis but the worldwide research community. Prof. Logothetis did absolutely nothing wrong, and the actions of the Society are illogical, baseless, and utterly cowardly. I lived and worked in Germany for a number of years. I found, in general, the standards of animal care in Germany, including those at the MPI Tuebingen, to be among the best I have seen anywhere in the world. The allegations of the infiltrator and his/her ilk are unfounded. I hereby announce that I will boycott any activity in any way sponsored by the MPI until this injustice is rectified, and Prof. Logothetis’s right to conduct and supervise animal experiments are fully restored.

    Doris Tsao
    Professor of Biology, Caltech
    Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    Director, Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Center for Systems Neuroscience

  122. While no organization should feel compelled to support abuse or mistreatment, this is not the case with Dr. Logothetis. His lab has been investigated in great depth and has been cleared of wrongdoing.

    I myself have worked at another research organization that was targeted by an animal rights infiltrator and heavily criticized for months, until the facility was cleared of wrongdoing by federal investigators. Therefore, I know how damaging these claims can be. However, in that case, the facility did not allow individual researchers to endure what this scientist has.

    Dr. Logothetis deserves better.

  123. Nikos Logothetis is one of the most influential systems neuroscientists of his generation. He is an outstanding scientist that has made many discoveries in his career including elucidating the neural basis of visual perception and understanding the neural underpinnings of the BOLD signal. In addition to his groundbreaking research, Nikos has been a pioneer in animal welfare, establishing minimally invasive surgical methods, large socially housed colonies and enrichment strategies. His lab has set animal welfare standards that many of us follow in the US and around the world. It is now very disturbing to see what is happening to him and his lab members in Tuebingen. The MPS should take strong action to put an end to the unfair abuse that its researchers go through when a few fanatics are willing to break the law to impose their will on the majority. I fully support Nikos and his lab.

    Andreas Tolias, PhD
    Brown Foundation Endowed Chair of Neuroscience
    Founder and Director
    Center for Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence
    Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine
    Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Rice University
    Houston Texas

    1. Prof. Nikos Logothetis has been inspiring example scientist for most of us. The work of Nikos has been amongst the most influential in the field of systems neuroscience. It is important that the The Max-Planck Society stands up for its scientists and ensures that excellent science can proceed. It is disturbing that an illegal undercover action can have such unfair consequences. I strongly support Nikos’ research!

      1. Prof. Nikos Logothetis’ ground-breaking work has always been an important source of inspiration. It pushes the boundaries of systems neuroscience from both a fundamental and technological point of view. His openness with respect to the use of animals in biomedical sciences serves as an example for all of us. He deserves the full support of the MPS leadership.

  124. George K. Kostopoulos. MD, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Medical School, University of Patras, Greece says:

    … The bell tolls for science… This will be the victim, if MPS does not reinstate Nikos Logothetis at his position. And the consequences will be far reaching.

  125. The behavior and lack of support for Dr. Logothetis by the MPS is disturbing. The quality of his work is second to none and he has been an important spokes person for responsible conduct in animal research. I fully support him and this open letter.
    Let’s strive to be more open about animal research, and ask for support in this from our scientific organizations..

  126. I am following this discussion from the very beginning. The attitude of the MP leadership is illustrative for the leadership of many of our scientific institutes. It is amazing how easy our leaders give in to a badly informed public opinion. Why not take the opportunity to explain why we do these experiments and why they are important? It is a big disappointment that the directors believed more an infiltrator and fanatic activist who abuses the trust of his/her employers than their widely respected scientists. I do not understand why Max Planck provided by its actions credibility to an in essence anti-scientific and anti-rationale movement.
    I hope that an example is set and that we scientists can show that we deserve the respect of our rectors, provosts and other leaders of research. it is their first obligation to defend the scientific mission of their institutes.

    Bart De Strooper
    Alzheimer disease researcher
    Brain prize winner

  127. As a PhD student I have learned the importance of respecting animal protection protocols, and Dr. Logothetis has proven to be outstandingly diligent in this. His manuscripts and contributions constitute fundamental pillars of our modern understanding of brain function, and deserves all our support.

  128. I fully agree with the letter and previous comments. I fear that it illustrates the dangerous shift in the balance between rationality and individual emotive affects that we see nowadays. It is a shame that MPS is following this trend instead of supporting scientists and facts.

  129. I fully support the content of this open letter. Research institutions should protect and support their scientists in the face of such actions by animal right activists and the way they manipulate public opinion.

  130. I give all my support to Nikos Logothetis and his lab members. They made enormous advances in the neuroscience field. They deserve full support from their institution and should be congratulated instead. When you think about it, the way they were treated is a shame ! It’s unfair. In every period of history, there is resistance to Science, it just takes different masks.

    1. I totally agree and express my full support to Prof. Nikos Logothetis and his lab members!

  131. As a theoretical neuroscientist, I also fully support Nikos Logothetis, who has had a huge influence in our thinking and how we build computational models of brain mechanisms today. Animal experiments are absolutely essential to understand the human brain and its pathologies.

  132. The institute’s lack of support for its own scientists suggests to the public it has something to hide, and that is exactly what empowers animal activists to continue.

  133. Michael E. Goldberg, David Mahoney Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, Columbia University says:

    Dr. Nikos Logothetis is one of the best neuroscientists in the world. His work has not only shown light on the mechanisms of visual perception, it has been the best work on understanding the mechanisms underlying functional magnetic resonance studies, the best way to study neural processes in the human. His work is in compliance with the Max Planck White Paper on Animal Research,

    1. Prof. Nicos Logothetis is one of the most influential neuroscientists of the past decades, inspiring thousands of young and experienced researchers with his groundbreaking work and findings. His research and animal facilities were among the best worldwide, setting an example for all of us. It is discomforting that in an era where twitter and superficial media rules, even one of the mightiest research organizations on earth seem to be influenced by highly selected footage from undercover activists. Nikos rather deserves a Nobel Prize than being burned at the stake. I fully support him and the open letter!

  134. The presumption of guilt by the MPS is disturbing as is its lack of support of one of its premier researchers. Dr. Logothetis’s contributions to science are numerous and important. He has served as a positive example for how to conduct responsible research using animal models and has been a vital voice in the ongoing public debate. I fully support him, and I urge the MPS to do better by its scientists.

    1. Dr. Logothetis is one of the most respected figures in neuroscience, and his basic research lays the foundation for future new treatments for brain disorders that affect millions of people. Although a Max Planck Society investigation found “no serious violations of animal care rules”, Dr. Logothetis has been threatened and harassed in public, and the Max Planck Society has suspended his authority to supervise any research involving animals. By not supporting its own scientist, the Max Planck Society unnecessarily impedes important research that will ultimately help people, and it only emboldens animal rights activists to continue their anti-research campaign.

      1. I second the comments posted by Robert Desimone. The MPS’s handling of this episode is inexplicably counterproductive, not to mention an insult to Nikos Logothetis, one of the most creative, influential neuroscientists of our time.

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