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 Behavioral Neurology

 Imaging Genetics

Dr. Björn Schott

Head:

Dr. Björn Schott

Department Behavioral Neurology
Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology
Brenneckestraße 6
39118 Magdeburg
Germany
Phone: +49-391-6263-92072
E-mail:

Prof. Dr. Constanze Seidenbecher

Head:

Prof. Dr. Constanze Seidenbecher

Scientific Administration
Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology
Brenneckestraße 6
39118 Magdeburg
Germany
Phone: +49-391-6263-92401
Fax: +49-391-6263-92419
E-mail:

Human cognitive and emotional processes are subject to considerable interindividual variability, and approximately 50 per cent of these individual differences are most likely attributable to genetic factors. Over the past two decades, several genetic determinants of complex human brain functions like memory, executive function or emotion processing have been identified, and neuroimaging techniques like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can help to elucidate underlying neural mechanisms.

In the Imaging Genetics Lab of the LIN, we investigate molecular mechanisms of human cognitive functions using a multimodal approach that includes large-scale behavioral and psychometric investigations, functional neuroimaging (fMRI, EEG/MEG, PET) and complementary molecular biological investigations.
Up to now, most genetic variations linked to individual differences in complex human brain function have been identified in neuromodulatory transmitter systems like the dopaminergic and serotonergic system (Schott et al., 2006, 2011a). Up to now, genetic studies on human cognitive and affective functions have focused on variants directly related to these transmitter systems, like receptors or metabolizing enzymes. G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) activation by neuromodulatory transmitters, however, triggers complex intracellular signaling cascades that exert relatively long-lasting influences on neuronal processing and interact with the signals from AMPA and NMDA type glutamate receptors.

In the past few years, we have therefore focused our work on genetic variations of synaptic proteins that integrate GPCR signaling and glutamatergic neurotransmission, most prominently on the AKAP5 gene, which encodes the multiadaptor protein AKAP79/150. We could demonstrate that a functional variation of the AKAP5 gene (AKAP5 Pro100Leu) is associated with human aggression and anger as well as with differences in frontolimbic processing of emotional stimuli (Richter et al., 2011, 2013). We are now investigating further genetic variations in synaptic structure and adaptor molecules, many of which have recently been linked to human psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This work is performed in close collaboration with the Department of Human Genetics of the Otto von Guericke University as well as the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the Charité Berlin.

We welcome applications from students interested in Master’s or doctoral thesis, particularly in the fields of medicine, psychology, neuroscience and biology, but students of physics, mathematics or computer science with interest in neuroscientific topics are also encouraged to apply.

 

 


(Back row from left to right): Gusalija Behnisch, Anni Richter, Björn Schott, Constanze Seidenbecher, Julian Hermus, Clara Schietke, Julius Heil
(Front row from left to right): Maria Watermann, Nora Großkopf, Lea Knopf (Photo: R. Blumenstein, LIN).

 

National and international collaborations:

  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Heinz, Prof. Dr. Henrik Walter, PD Dr. Stefan Röpke, Dr. Martin Voss, Dr. Torsten Wüstenberg, Charité Berlin
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Zenker, Prof. Dr. Emrah Düzel, Prof. Dr. Alan Richardson-Klavehn, University of Magdeburg
  • Dr. Sylvia Richter, University of Salzburg
  • Dr. Marc Guitart-Masip, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Münte, University Hospital Lübeck
  • Prof. Dr. Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells, ICREA, Barcelona
  • Prof. Dr. Ludger Schöls, Hertie Institute Tübingen
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