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RG Developmental Biology of Psychiatric Disorders


Head of the Research Group, Priv.-Doz.

PD Dr. Wolfgang Kelsch

Phone: +49 621 1703-6213


Laboratory Building, 2nd Floor, Room 225



The DFG-funded Emmy Noether-Group on Developmental Biology was established in 2011 and moved to the Dept. of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at CIMH in June 2012. The group examines how environmental and genetic factors act to control the assembly of neuronal circuits in postnatal rodent brain circuits. In adult olfactory circuits, the synaptic wiring of newly generated neurons serves as a model system to dissect the contribution of genetic determination at stem cell stage and environmental influences since single new neurons can be conveniently manipulated in mature and relatively stable sensory circuits. Related to this work, we have begun to dissect the cellular actions of a salience signal i.e. phasic dopamine in ventral striatum with its implication for the developmental trajectory of this system during adolescence when schizophrenia develops. Contrary to the manifold implications of schizophrenia as a developmental disorder and dopamine as a key player in its pathophysiology, the functional maturation of this system is poorly studied at the cellular and circuit level. To approach these questions we use established tools namely electrophysiology, genetics, optogenetics and structural analysis. Within these projects, close interactions exist with the WG Translational Imaging in which we optogenetically manipulate the above described neuronal circuits in rodent fMRI to better link animal models and human pathophysiology.

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