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RG Translational Addiction Research


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

Medical Director

Prof. Dr. Falk Kiefer

Phone: +49 621 1703-3501, -3502

Fax: +49 621 1703-3505



Birgit Freudenberger e-mail
Phone: +49 621 1703-3502

Birgit Hrinkow e-mail
Phone: +49 621 1703-3523

Heike Grün e-mail
Phone: +49 621 1703-3503

Addiction Centre, 3rd Floor, Rooms 301 / 303 / 304


Discoveries in medicine often originate from a clinical observation for which an explanation is then sought in corresponding preclinical studies including research in experimental animals. The expectation is that such research will ultimately lead to the development of novel therapeutic approaches. However, in psychiatry this process has fallen behind partly due to the fact that disease symptoms are difficult to translate from humans to animals and vice versa. Lack of objective assessment tools may be one source of erroneous conclusion about disease mechanisms in between species, which has resulted in a major obstacle for medication development.

The work group Translational Addiction Research focuses on the identification of brain responses and genomic profiles that can be objectively compared between humans and animal models. Linking preclinical and clinical research on such a level is a major challenge, and so far has been implemented only at a few sites worldwide. At CIMH we benefit from the collaborative attitude among researchers and the close proximity of preclinical and clinical research facilities. We have already successfully proven that such direct human-animal comparisons can be obtained by in vivo neuroimaging methods or convergent genomic analyses. For example, we demonstrated a common central glutamatergic mechanism in humans and animals during alcohol withdrawal [Hermann et al, Biol Psych 2012]. In another study we detected the first genome-wide association for excessive alcohol consumption by combining gene expression profiles from animals, human association studies and reverse genetics in animals (Stacey et al., 2012). These studies, which by now are recognized as prototypical examples for translational work in psychiatry, have been conducted in close collaboration between the Departments of Addiction Medicine, Neuroimaging, Genetic Epidemiology, and Psychopharmacology as well as the WG Translational Neuroimaging. In addition, new projects will include researchers from Departments of Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Molecular Biology.

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