Cognitive Neuropsychiatry

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Igor Nenadic
Our lab uses brain imaging to study behaviour, cognition, and psychiatric disorders. We apply both structural and functional MRI techniques with a special interest in novel innovative MR morphometry methods, such as analyses of cortical folding (gyrification, cortical complexity), as well as the use of machine learning applications for imaging data and multi-modal image analysis.

Our projects mostly fall into three main areas of research:

First, we are interested in the patterns of structural and functional changes that accompany psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, and personality disorders, as well as people at risk of developing such a disorder - in particular ultra-high risk (UHR) states for psychosis. Some of these disorders are preceded by subtle changes in brain structure and function, which might aid early detection and intervention. In other instances, these changes can serve as predictors of treatment outcomes. Multi-modal and multi-dimensional approaches give us the opportunity to integrate multiple layers of risk vs. protective factors to understand biological spectrum models - both within and across single disease categories.

Second, we take great interest in the study of risk phenotypes and personality. Behavioural traits can serve as liability markers. Understanding their biological underpinnings might therefore lead to dimensional (as opposed to categorical) concepts of psychiatric disorders. This incorporates personality neuroscience approaches, where we develop models to understand the relation between personality traits and the human brain’s organisation. This focus links our clinical studies with those in „non-clinical“ cohorts.

Third, we enjoy applying innovative methods to study brain development in order to understand vulnerable periods as well as the contributions of genetic and environmental factors shaping cerebral form and function. Twin studies are an exciting model to test our hypotheses, and we have been fortunate for most of the time to collaborate with both methods groups as well as neuroscience consortia in putting new models to the test. These methods and models include those aimed at understanding brain plasticity, in both health and disease.

Research training: We welcome students for both internships as well as research project placements, including BSc, MSc, and doctoral theses. Please feel free to contact us for questions you might have on getting involved.
Lab head / PI:
Prof. Igor Nenadic

Dr. Sarah Grezellschak
Dr. Tina Meller
Dr. Urs Kleinholdermann

Physicians (MDs):
Rozbeh Elahi
Melanie Kelz
Svenja Klingel

Psychologists / PhD students:
Ulrika Evermann, MSc
Julia-Katharina Pfarr, MSc

Doctoral students


Click here for Medline list of publications!