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RG Systems Neuroscience in Psychiatry (SNiP)


Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Head of the Research Group

Prof. Dr. Dr. Heike Tost

Phone: +49 621 1703-6508


Research and Administrative Building, 4th Floor, Room 418

Deputy Head of the Research Group

Dr. Jamila Andoh

Phone: +49 621 1703-6506

Fax: +49 621 1703-2005


Research and administration building, 4th floor, room 404

M.Sc., M.P.A., Lab Manager

Mirjam Melzer

Phone: +49 621 1703-6538, -6513


Research and administration building, 4th floor, room 409


The work group Systems Neuroscience in Psychiatry (SNiP) is dedicated to the examination of the genetic and environmental mechanisms conferring risk and protection for psychiatric illness in large epidemiological cohorts and patient populations. To achieve this, we use a broad set of cutting-edge methods including multimodal neuroimaging, daily-life ambulatory assessments, genome-wide (epi)genetic data, geoinformatic reconstruction of environmental exposures and neural network-based analysis methods. One research priority is the characterization of quantitative  neurobiological traits related to the genetic risk for mental disorders, e.g., in carriers of candidate and genome-wide supported genetic risk variants, rare copy number variants, unaffected first-grade relatives of patients, or healthy individuals with an increased polygenic risk load (e.g. Schizophr Bull. 2020 Apr, Neuroimage. 2020 Nov 5, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2016 Nov, JAMA Psychiatry. 2016 Jun, JAMA Psychiatry. 2014 May, Neuropsychopharmacology. 2019 Feb, Schizophr Bull. 2017 Sep 1, Nature. 2014 Jan 16, Science. 2009 May 1).

A second research focus is on the real-life behavioral and neural effects of social environmental risk and protective factors for mental health (e.g., urban life, ethnic minority background, real-life social contact and green space exposure (e.g. Sci Ad. 2020 Nov 6, Biol Psychiatry. 2019 Dec 15, Nat Neurosci. 2015 Oct, Nature. 2011 Jun 22, JAMA Psychiatry. 2014 Jun, Schizophr Bull. 2017 Jul 1, Schizophr Bull. 2015 Jan, Nat Neurosci. 2019 Sep, Nat Neurosci. 2012 Apr 15).

We further develop and use a broad array of innovative neuroimaging methods to record and validate measures of brain structure and function with, e.g., fMRI hyperscanning (study of real-time social neural interactions), real-time fMRI neurofeedback (study of the self-regulation of neural function), high-resolution neuroimaging including multiband structural and functional MRI, multi-shell diffusion weighted imaging, fMRI-TMS, fMRI-EEG and complex network-based analysis strategies (e.g. Hum Brain Mapp. 2019 Dec 15, Neuropsychopharmacology. 2018 Jan, Hum Brain Mapp. 2020 Jun 1, JAMA Psychiatry. 2017 Sep 1, Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2016 Nov, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2015 Apr 21, Neuroimage. 2014 Jan 1, Neuroimage. 2014 Dec, Neuroimage. 2012 Apr 15, Brain Struct Funct. 2018 Sep).

Other current research priorities of our group include:

  • Longitudinal assessment of the effects of molecular and environmental factors on the neurobiological development, mental health and well-being in children, adolescents and adults in the general population (PEZ, contact person: Beate Höchemer)
  • Intense characterization of triggers, modifying factors and mechanisms at course transition points in human addiction (TRR 265, A04, contact person: Gabriela Gan)
  • Adverse childhood experiences: neural affective correlates and modulatory role of the social environment (GRK 2350, B2, Call for volunteers (German), contact person: Oksana Berhe)
  • Multimodal characterization of daily-life and neural predictors of negative symptoms in schizophrenia and major depressive disorder (INDICATE-N, contact person: Anastasia Benedyk)
  • Translational studies in pain chronicity: role of cortico-thalamo-striatal pathways in stress-sensitization and comorbidity development (SFB 1158, B04, contact person: Francesca Zidda)
  • Plasticity in brain circuits underlying interactions between pain and depression (SFB 1158, B09,  contact person: Malika Renz)
  • Development of a transportable, secure and expandable cross-lingual communication tool for psychiatric care of refugees (RELATER, contact person: Janina Schweiger)

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