UNIVERSITÄTSKLINIKUM WÜRZBURG – KLINIKUM DER BAYERISCHEN JULIUS MAXIMILIANS-UNIVERSITAT (UKW)

Würzburg, Germany

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Team Leader

Prof. Klaus Peter Lesch

Lead WP7
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Team Staff

Evgeniy Svirin

PhD Student
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Hsing Ping Ku

PhD Student
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Institute Presentation

The Division of Molecular Psychiatry with the Research Unit on Disorders of Neurodevelopment and Cognition in conjunction with the Laboratory of Translational Neuroscience as part of the Center of Mental Health at the UKWürzburg (UKW) is leading in its field with an outstanding track record in psychiatric neuroscience research at the boundary between molecular genetics, cellular neurobiology, and behaviour. Interdisciplinary and translational research strategies are employed to elucidate the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental and a wide spectrum of life-spanning psychiatric disorders, ranging from depression and anxiety, psychotic (schizophrenia spectrum) and neurodegenerative disorders, to attention-deficit/hyperactivity, autism spectrum and substance use disorders (Kiser et al. 2015). Finally, mechanisms of pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatments are studied. Each approach to study the pathophysiological mechanisms is using cutting edge and innovative methodology. Moreover, there is an increasingly successful track record in the search for functionally relevant common and rare variation in risk genes for psychiatric disorders by conducting genome-wide association studies and whole-exome/ genome sequencing in large cohorts and multiplex families segregating various unique neurodevelopmental disorders and psychiatric syndromes. Finally, the areas of convergence between the fields of neuropsychology, psycho- and neurobiology as well as child, adolescent and adult psychiatry are strengthening the connections between the individual disciplines by establishing and maintaining research groups, who are investigating mutual topics. In that, a unique environment for the study of the molecular and neural foundations in the etiopathogenesis and long-term course of neuropsychiatric disease has been put into practice. The overarching aim is to find pathways to “precision medicine” for psychiatry through understanding molecular and neuronal pathomechanisms of common disorders.  Specifically, the goal comprises 1) a translational axis for endophenotypic profiling of neurodevelopmental/ psychiatric disease in behavioural, (epi)genetic and neurophysiologic terms, and 2) a platform for the elucidation of pathogenetic brain mechanisms and thereby the development of personalized therapies for neurodevelopmental/ psychiatric disease and their comorbidities.