Translational Brain Research in Psychiatry and Neurology

The relationships between the structure and function of the brain are one of the central issues of modern-day brain research. Using state-of-the art methods, it has been shown that mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders, are associated not only with impressive symptoms but also with changes in the brain

Prof. Thomas Nickl-Jockschat’s research group characterizes abnormalities in the brain structure of individuals with mental illnesses and analyses their molecular and environmental causes. In addition, the group focuses on the progression of these illnesses and the relationship between the structural changes and clinical symptoms. A broad range of methods is used in the research projects. These include morphometry, diffusion tensor imaging, and studies of functional and structural connectivity, genetic imaging, cytoarchitectonic probability maps and animal models. The group also works with databases and is involved in computational neuroscience. The aim of this approach is a better understanding of healthy brain organization and the pathophysiology of mental illnesses. In the long term, this will optimize diagnostics, enable more accurate prediction of the progression of an illness, and lead to new treatment approaches, particularly in the case of illnesses where treatment options are currently limited.

Within JARA-BRAIN the research group is closely collaborating with the Research Center Jülich.


  • Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA,
    (Prof. Ted Abel, Ph.D.)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience Group, Institut für Klinische Neurowissenschaften und Medizinische Psychologie, Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf
    (Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Simon Eickhoff)
  • Research Imaging Center, University of Texas in San Antonio, San Antonio, USA
    (Prof. Peter T. Fox, M.D.) 
  • Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-2), Forschungszentrum Jülich
    (Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer.nat. Dirk Feldmeyer)

Publications of Professor T. Nickl-Jockschat, Ph.D.

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