Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry

Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry

The Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, which focuses primarily on research into depression and anxiety disorders, is one of the world's leading institutes in this field. Here, basic research is closely interlinked with clinical research: the Institute incorporates a 120-bed hospital, numerous specialist outpatient departments and three day units. Within these facilities, the modern research branches of genetics and proteomics are combined with the clinical analysis techniques of imaging and the measurement of brain function. The aim is to identify biomarkers of psychiatric and neurological disorders in a bid to better understand the molecular basis of these diseases. The knowledge obtained goes into the development of new therapies and drugs for the personalised medicine of tomorrow.

Contact

Kraepelinstr. 2 - 10
80804 München
Phone: +49 89 30622-1
Fax: +49 89 30622-605

PhD opportunities

This institute has several International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS):

IMPRS for Molecular Life Sciences: From Biological Structures to Neural Circuits
IMPRS for Translational Psychiatry

In addition, there is the possibility of individual doctoral research. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

Department Translatinal Research in Psychiatry

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Department Stress Neurobiology and Neurogenetics

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Multigene test predicts depression risk

Risk score based on many genetic differences predicts which children and adolescents are at greater risk of depression

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A not so typical colleague

People with autism often have outstanding skills, which can be enriching for businesses

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Lab grown "brains" successfully model disease

New research leads the way in validating a promising human brain model

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The gene which defines us as humans

Researchers discover information about the gene which makes a difference

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In response to acute stress the regulation of blood flow changes in various brain regions

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Silvia Cappello’s life is all about movement: at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, she performs research into the way in which different types of neurons migrate to the correct position in the cerebral cortex, during embryonic development of the brain. In her free time, the passionate athlete rarely stands still either.

People who haven’t gotten enough sleep often see the world as a fairly sad place. If their tiredness lasts for weeks or even months, their dark mood may become chronic and develop into depression. Conversely, depression is frequently also associated with severe sleep disorders. Axel Steiger and his team at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich are studying the connection between disturbed sleep and depression. To do this, they measure human brain activity in the sleep lab.

The Terror of Trauma

MPR 3 /2011 Biology & Medicine

Years after their occurrence, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and accidents continue to trigger anxiety and panic attacks in many people. Those afflicted find themselves reliving the event in nightmares or flashbacks.

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The uncharted territory of epitranscriptomics – mRNA modifications in psychiatric disorders

2019 Stamp, Fabian; Binder, Elisabeth; Chen, Alon

Developmental Biology Genetics Neurosciences Physiology

Stress can affect gene expression through epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA-methylation. New research suggests a similar regulation at the level of messenger molecules (mRNA) which are responsible for the transmission of genetic information. The most common mRNA modification N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is regulated by stress in the brain and shows a changed signature in the blood of patients suffering from depression. Future research investigating the involvement of m6A in the stress response can provide a better understanding of the origin of stress-related psychiatric disorders.

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Strategies to decode the molecular basis of psychiatric diseases

2018 Ziller, Michael J.

Cognitive Science Developmental Biology Evolutionary Biology Genetics Immunobiology Infection Biology Medicine Neurosciences Physiology

Psychiatric diseases represent one of the major public health burdens in western societies. The scientists at the Max-Planck Institute of Psychiatry are developing a new system medicine approach in order to address these challenges. In this approach, pluripotent stem cell based personalized disease models are used to generate various human brain cells in the laboratory. By combining these models with sophisticated computational analysis strategies, the scientists aim at decoding the patient specific molecular genetic basis of these diseases.

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Human-derived cerebral organoids for investigating human cortical malformations

2017 Cappello, Silvia

Developmental Biology Genetics Neurosciences

Malformations of the cerebral cortex are often associated with intellectual disability and epilepsy. These disorders arise in the course of cortical development as a consequence of disturbance of neuronal development, migration and connection. In order to develop therapeutic strategies, it is essential to understand the genetic causes and to investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these malformations. The MPI research group uses cerebral organoids derived from induced stem cells for this purpose.

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Psychiatric disorders as disorders of social interaction

2016 Schilbach, Leonhard

Medicine Neurosciences

Psychiatric disorders can affect our ability to successfully and enjoyably interact with others. The neural mechanisms of social interaction and transdiagnostic social impairments are only now beginning to be studied thanks to methodological developments. In the future, interaction-based functional neuroimaging, used by scientists at the MPI of Psychiatry, may help in the selection and refinement of treatment options for psychiatric disorders.

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MicroRNAs – small but remarkable!

2015 Chen, Alon

Behavioural Biology Cell Biology Genetics Medicine Neurosciences

MicroRNAs regulate the activity of genes in our cells. Thus, in nerve cells of the brain, they influence our behavior or our reaction to the environment – two processes that are disturbed in psychiatric diseases. Now microRNAs have been discovered, which for instance act as our body’s own antidepressant or allow an adequate reaction to stressful situations. Better understanding of the role of microRNAs in psychiatric disorders will help to develop new diagnostics or treatment approaches.

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