RG Molecular Psychopharmacology


Deputy Scientific Director, Registrar, Head of the Research Group

apl. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H Sommer

Phone: +49 621 1703-6286, -6259

Fax: +49 621 1703-6255


Laboratory Building, 4th Floor, Room 409


The PI of this group joined the CIMH in 2008. Our objective is to increase the understanding of genetic, neurobiological and behavioural factors that contribute to addictive behaviours, particularly in alcohol use disorders, and to use this knowledge for the development of novel therapeutic approaches. Besides the well described increased responsiveness to drug-related stimuli, addiction can be explained by a failure in inhibitory self-control from prefrontal cortical systems. The neurobiological mechanisms underlying the breakdown of top-down inhibition in alcoholism are poorly understood and have been challenging to investigate in animal models. Our working hypothesis is that distinct neural populations within the prefrontal cortex are particular sensitive to high, intoxicating amounts of alcohol. Importantly, this sensitivity maybe influenced by genetic factors. In our experimental approach to test this hypothesis we integrate a broad spectrum of advanced methodology ranging from animal genetics, molecular biology, omics techniques to behavioural pharmacology and neuroimaging. Furthermore we have established unique resources such as advanced DSM-IV/V based animal models of alcoholism, ‘humanized’ mouse lines for most common functional variant of the human mu-opioid receptor commonly referred to as A118G and a large collection of human post-mortem brain tissue suitable for genetic studies.