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Interviews with our experts

Prof. Dr. Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, Head of the Executive Board of CIMH and Medical Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at CIMH, explains, what is special about CIPP and how psychiatric research works.

Psychopharmaceutical research

The aim of experimental psychopharmaceutical research is to develop new pharmacological mechanisms of action in humans. Here, innovative psychoactive substances such as prosocial neuropeptides, cannabinoid modulators with an antipsychotic effect and molecules that improve learning processes, such as D-cycloserine, can be tested under Good Clinical Practice conditions. We model the effects of pharmacological substances on brain function using in silico pharmacology.

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Gründer, Head of the Department Molecular Neuroimaging at CIMH, explains, how patient care and research at CIPP are linked.

Psychotherapeutic research

As part of experimental psychotherapeutic research, we investigate and optimize psychotherapeutic methods based on neuropsychological and behavioral-biological characterization and innovative interventions. The focus is on new technological developments in the fields of brain-computer interfaces, virtual reality and combined psychotherapeutic and pharmacological interventions. A key research unit in this field is the virtual reality laboratory.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dr. h.c. Herta Flor, Scientific Director of the Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience at CIMH, talks about promising approaches and methods of psychotherapy research.

Neuroimaging

The expanded imaging platform at the CIPP enables data on brain structure, brain function and information processing to be linked directly to molecular imaging biomarkers for the first time in the field of psychiatry. In order to do this, a hybrid device made up of a positron emission tomography scanner and magnetic resonance imaging scanner (PET-MRI Biograph) is used, among other technologies, leading to better study results of psychopathological mechanisms and optimized testing of new psychopharmaceuticals. Key aspects of therapies can be visualized at the neuronal level with a magnetoencephalograph (MEG), which has an extremely quick setup time for readings, high temporal and spatial resolution and selectivity. These aspects can be implemented in new interventions based on brain-computer-interfaces.

Prof. Dr. Gabriele Ende, Head of the Core Facility CIPP, talks about the importance of imaging in psychiatric research.

Biobank

Biomaterials (e.g. blood, saliva, urine, stool) are collected, processed and stored in the largest psychiatric biobank in Germany. These biomaterials are the source materials used to understand the biological principles of mental illnesses and the development of indicators that are relevant to therapy (biomarkers). The aim is to use these biomarkers to improve the diagnosis, the prognosis and the predictions of a patient’s response to a therapy and their development of side effects. One focus of the research is the combination of genetic and imaging data to understand the biological processes in mental illnesses.

Prof. Dr. Marcella Rietschel, Scientific Director of the Department of Genetic Epidemiology in Psychiatry at CIMH, talks about the importance of biological factors in psychiatric research and their significance for patients.

 



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