The Central Institute for Mental Health was established on April 8th, 1975 as a public foundation with the support of the FRG, the Land Baden-Württemberg and the Volkswagen Foundation. The Institute has a broad spectrum of activities including research in psychiatry, addiction medicine, psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy, clinical psychology and medical sociology, focussing on psychiatric epidemiology, social psychiatry and evaluation of treatment methods and facilities. The prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of mental diseases. University teaching for medical students of the Mannheim Faculty for Clinical Medicine belonging to Heidelberg University according to an agreement with the University of Heidelberg. Training and advancement of younger scientific staff; postgraduate education of physicians and psychologists education and training in non-clinical medical and social vocations. Councelling with regard to planning and developing of facilities and services in the field of mental health.



Investigators


Professor Marcella Rietschel

Marcella Rietschel is Head of Division of "Genetic Epidemiology in Psychiatry" at the Central Institute for Mental Health (ZI) and Head of the Clinico-Epidemiological Genetics Research Group at the University of Bonn. She is both a psychiatrist and psychotherapist and has a registration for medical genetics which she received after working as a medical doctor for 2,5 years in the Institute of Genetics in Bonn. Before going to the Central Institute for Mental Health (ZI) in April 2002, She has been working for almost 10 years as a consultant at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Bonn. Her research focus is the phenotype characterisation of patients for genetic/pharmacogenetic studies. She has a vast and long-standing experience in the recruitment, phenotypic characterization and documentation of psychiatric patients as well as controls. She has successfully participated in numerous national and international collaborative studies on the genetics of psychiatric disorders. Among them, the DFG priority program "Genetic factors of psychiatric disorders", the Trilateral (Germany, Israel, Palestine) DFG grant "Family-based association study of schizophrenia in different ethnic populations", the project "Recruitment and phenotypic characterization of multiply affected families" within the DFG collaborative research center "Molecular basis of CNS diseases" (SFB 400), the project "Phenotypic characterization in psychiatric disorders" within the DFG graduate college "Pathogenesis of disorders of the nervous system" (GRK 246). In the framework of the BMBF financed "Disease-oriented genome network: nervous system" she is the principle investigator of the common research platform for recruitment of patients and control individuals. In addition, she is one of the responsible investigators of the subprojects "Genetics, pharmacogenetics" in the BMBF networks of competence "Schizophrenia" and "Depression".



Dr Thomas G. Schulze

Dr. Schulze studied medicine (1990-1997) at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany), the University of Barcelona (Spain), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C. and Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C. He graduated from the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in 1997. In the same year, he received his thesis-based doctoral degree (/Doctor medicinae/) and joined the University of Bonn (Germany) for a residency in adult psychiatry and a fellowship in psychiatric genetics. In 2000, he became a research associate with the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Chicago. In 2002, he joined the genetics unit of the National Institute of Mental Health Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program as a visiting fellow. Since 2003, Dr. Schulze has been employed as a staff scientist with the Division of Genetic Epidemiology in Psychiatry at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim (Germany). Past and current awards include scholarships from the State of Bavaria and the European Union (ERASMUS), as well as grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and NARSAD. He has been serving as a scientific advisor for the Heinz C. Prechter Fund for Manic Depression and several scientific journals. He has authored and co-authored over 60 research papers. Dr Schulze is working both as a clinician and researcher (phenotype characterization) for GENDEP.



Dr Peter Gass

This group has extensive experience with the learned helplessness model of depression which is based on the hypothesis that depression is induced by uncontrollable stress in individuals with a predisposition. They have established this model in Sprague-Dawley rats and used a strictly elaborated protocol defining some rats as being "learned helpless" (LH) or "not learned helpless" (NLH). Furthermore, by selectively breeding for more than 40 generations, they have generated two strains of rats, one which reacts with congenital helplessness to stress (cLH), and one which congenitally does not acquire helplessness when stressed (cNLH). These strains have lost their behavioral plasticity including their sensitivity to antidepressant treatment. They breed and characterize these animals behaviorally, with molecular, biochemical and pharmacological tools, as well as by functional imaging. Most recently they have analyzed changes in neurotophin expression and neurogenesis. Drs. P. Gass, and C Zacher will carry out these tasks. All strucutres and facilities needed for these investigations are fully operative, such as animal care/breeding facilities, operating rooms, behavioral laboratories, molecular and radioactive laboratories and equipment.