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RG (Emmy-Noether Group) Translational Bioinformatics in Psychiatry


Emanuel Schwarz, Ph.D

Phone: +49 621 1703-2368


Researchbuilding, 4th Floor, Room 432


Psychotic disorders are among the most serious mental illnesses and major causes of disability, absence from work and early retirement. A major problem is that current diagnostic criteria are based on symptom and clinical course criteria, which, almost by definition, do not map to the underlying biology. As a consequence, genetic illness associations regularly cross diagnostic boundaries and are hallmarked by small effect sizes due to the polygenic disease architecture and heterogeneity of diagnostic constructs.

A central aim of this research group is the investigation of trans-diagnostic patient subgroups based on underlying biological processes for dimensional reconstruction of psychotic disorders. For this purpose, we focus on the development and application of statistical and bioinformatics methods for integrative analysis of genome-wide genetics and functional as well as structural neuroimaging data. We aim to optimally integrate biological meta-data in an extensive multi-modal database amenable for quantitative analysis to obtain deeper insight into illness-associated processes. For this, we aim to develop and utilize cutting-edge tools to perform patient subgroup identification and identify polygenic profiles mapped onto gene functional categories that drive subgroup formation. This will allow the exploration of the relationship between patient subgroups and differences in brain structure, function and connectivity and elucidate the neuromodulatory role of the identified genetic-risk profiles.

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