Home Research Departments / Research Groups / Institutes Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Research Groups RG Developmental Neurosciences in Psychiatry

RG Developmental Neurosciences in Psychiatry


Head of the Research Group

Dr. Nathalie Holz

Phone: +49 621 1703-4904



The expertise of the research group lies in the field of developmental psychopathology. Tracking the development of psychiatric disorders from infancy into adulthood and identification of pathogenetic factors during different developmental stages has been the longstanding focus of the group’s work. Our research activities draw heavily on a comprehensive epidemiological cohort study, the – now widely recognized – „Mannheim Study of Children at Risk” (MARS), an ongoing longitudinal study which follows a sample of children at risk for later psychopathology over a period of currently more than 25 years since birth.

Combining epidemiological methods with paradigms from developmental psychology and biological psychiatry, the group has worked on a broad range of research topics, such as the long-term sequelae of early childhood developmental risks, parent-child relationship and psychopathology in later life as well as neurobiological correlates of psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence.

In recent years, the research focus of the group has turned to the study of substance abuse in adolescents and young adults and its dependence on genetic and environmental influences. Most recently, in collaboration with the WG Developmental Clinical Neurophysiology and the Department of Psychiatry, our group has been engaged in investigating the neural basis of gene-environment interactions. By applying imaging genetics to MARS, the neural mechanisms underlying differential susceptibility to environmental adversity are currently being dissected (DFG project together with A. Meyer-Lindenberg and D. Brandeis). Furthermore, in the framework of the ERANET project POSEIDON (in collaboration with the WG Stress-Associated Disorders (M. Deuschle)), epigenetic signatures of early life adversity (DNA methylation) as possible vulnerability markers for psychopathology later in life are identified in a sample of 400 infants.

[Translate to English:] Katja Becker (Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Medical Faculty, Philipps-University Marburg, Marburg, Germany): ADHD research

Stefan Bender (Section for Clinical Neurophysiology and Multimodal Neuroimaging, Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Department, University of Technology, Dresden, Germany): EEG research

Günter Esser (Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam, Germany): Parent-child interaction

Friedhelm Pfeiffer (Centre for European Economic Research, Mannheim, Germany): Non-cognitive skills

Martina Pitzer (Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Hospital, Karlsruhe, Germany): Temperament research

Gunter Schumann (Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, UK): Addiction research

Patricia Trautmann-Villalba (Mother-Child Unit, Klinikum Stuttgart, Germany: parent-child interaction

Ulrich S. Zimmermann (Department of Psychiatry, Universitätsklinikum Gustav Carus,  Dresden, Germany: Addiction Research

Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit (ZI) - https://www.zi-mannheim.de