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Max-Planck-Institut für Experimentelle Medizin

Hannelore Ehrenreich studied medicine and veterinary medicine in Hanover and Munich, Germany. In parallel to her clinical training in neurology and psychiatry (in Munich and Göttingen) she had several grant-funded research positions in the USA (with Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, NIAID, NIH, Bethesda, MD), England and the Philippines. She is professor of neurology and psychiatry, and adjunct professor of biology and psychology, with teaching responsibilities at the University of Göttingen. She is head of Clinical Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Göttingen. Her research area of interest is translational neuroscience with focus on: (1) Molecular-cellular basis of neuropsychiatric diseases, particularly mechanisms of disease and endogenous neuroprotection/neuroregeneration (erythropoietin/EPO variants); (2) Preclinical and clinical research on neuroprotection/neuroregeneration in acute (ischemia/hypoxia, neurotrauma) and chronic diseases (schizophrenia, autism, MS, alcoholism); (3) Phenotype-based genetic association studies (PGAS) as a tool to understand the genotype contribution to (disease) phenotypes.

Martin Begemann studied medicine at the University of Hamburg and upon graduation carried on with basic research in developmental and cell biology as well as signal transduction (Rockefeller University, Columbia University, New York City). In 1996, Martin Begemann began his training as a clinical neurologist (Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York City) with a special emphasis on neuro-oncology (MSKCC, New York City) and was board certified in neurology in 2001 (ABPN). From 2004 until present, Martin Begemann recruited and examined several hundred patients for the multicenter schizophrenia cross-sectional study, initiated by the Göttingen Research Association for Schizophrenia (GRAS) as well as patients with bipolar and other affective disorders for phenotype-based genetic association studies (PGAS). In 2012, Martin Begemann was awarded the Venia legendi for clinical neuroscience by the University of Göttingen. He was board certified in neurology (2006) and psychiatry & psychotherapy (2012). Martin Begemann has a special interest in translational neuroscience with particular focus on schizophrenia, affective disorders and autism.

Esther Castillo-Gómez studied biology at the University of Valencia, Spain. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in 2005 and her Master’s degree in basic and applied neuroscience in 2007. From 2007 to 2011, she performed her PhD thesis in the Cell Biology Department at the University of Valencia. There, she investigated the role of dopamine and the polysialylated form of the neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) in the structural plasticity of prefrontocortical neurons, with a focus on its relevance for the treatment of schizophrenia and major depression. Her PhD dissertation was qualified with “summa cum laude” and obtained the European PhD Quality Mention and the Extraordinary Award from the University of Valencia for the best PhD Thesis in Medicine in 2011-2012. From 2011- 2014 she held a post-doctoral position in the Neurobiology Unit at the University of Valencia, working in the frame of an EU funded project. Her research focused on developing new mouse models of schizophrenia based on the combination of different risk factors for the disease during critical age periods. In June 2014 she joined Clinical Neuroscience at the Max-Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Göttingen, to continue working on genetic and environmental risk factors of mental disease.

Liane Dahm studied biochemistry at the University of Halle and Jena. Focusing on molecular medicine, she investigated a mouse model for schizophrenia and obtained her diploma in 2007. From 2008 to 2009 she worked as a doctoral student in neuroanatomy at the Center of Anatomy, University of Göttingen. For her PhD, she joined the department of Clinical Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine in Göttingen and studied the erythropoietin/erythropoietin receptor system in the brain. She defended her PhD in May 2013. Since June 2013 she took over the role of a postdoctoral researcher in Clinical Neuroscience with teaching and supervision responsibilities. Her main interests are the effects of erythropoietin on neural precursor cells, microglia motility and brain metabolism.

Ekrem Dere studied psychology at the University of Düsseldorf and obtained his diploma in 1999. In 2003 he was awarded with a PhD degree from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the University of Düsseldorf. In 2007 he obtained his habilitation and venia legeni for psychology at the same university. He received a Heisenberg stipend from the DFG in 2009 and was recruited as a full professor for Pathology of Cerebral Aging at the Université Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC Paris 6). Recently, Ekrem Dere joined the Division of Clinical Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine in Göttingen. Ekrem Dere is a behavioral neuroscientist with a particular research focus on the neurobiology and neuropathology of episodic memory and the behavioral functions of gap junctions in the brain.

Riccardo Gezzi studied Physics at the University of Rome (Universita degli studi Roma 3), with a focus on theoretical solid state physics and obtained his diploma in 1998. From 2000 to 2004 he worked in industrial R&D at ST-Microelectronics (Milan) and Siemens (Erlangen) contributing to the development of organic and inorganic semiconductor devices. From 2004 to 2007 he performed his PhD thesis at the Institute for theoretical physics (Condensed Matter Theory Group) in Göttingen.
There, he investigated charge transport through quantum dots. In 2008 he joined the biomechanical working group at the University Medical Center of Göttingen where he took part at several projects concerning gait analysis, theoretical modelling of joints and data analysis. From 2011 to 2013 he had positions at Qlaym GmbH (Göttingen) and at Deloitte & Touche (Prague), working on artificial intelligence for modelling and forecasting e.g. in biomedical applications. His work in Clinical Neuroscience, MPIEM, is focusing on the development of novel approaches to study complex genotype-phenotype interactions in mental diseases.

Christian Hammer studied biology at the University of Heidelberg, with a focus on genetics, and obtained his diploma in 2006. From 2006 to 2010, he performed his PhD thesis in the Department of Human Molecular Genetics at the Institute of Human Genetics in Heidelberg. There, he investigated common genetic variation in genes of the serotonergic system with respect to their role in neuropsychiatric and neurogastrointestinal disorders. In December 2010, he obtained his PhD degree (‘summa cum laude’) for his dissertation ‘The role of common serotonin type 3 receptor variants in the pathoetiology of neuropsychiatric disorders’. Having gained extensive experience in both statistical analysis of case-control and pharmacogenetic association studies as well as diverse laboratory techniques, he continued to work at the Institute of Human Genetics in Heidelberg as a postdoctoral researcher, before joining the Division of Clinical Neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine (MPIEM) in Göttingen in August 2011. His research focuses on phenotype-based genetic association studies, a novel approach to better understanding the contribution of genetic variation to the (schizophrenic) phenotype.

Sergi Papiol studied biology at the University of Barcelona. He obtained his Bachelor degree in 2000 and he completed his PhD degree in the Faculty of Biology of the University of Barcelona in 2007. From 2007-2009 he held a postdoctoral position in the Neurogenetics Department of the Max-Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine, Göttingen. In 2010 he joined the Division of Clinical Neuroscience as an expert in genetic epidemiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. His main interest focuses on the understanding of the contribution of genetic variability to the complex phenotype of schizophrenia and other severe mental disorders.

Petra Bachmann

DVM, Psychologist, PhD Student


Project: Genotype-phenotype associations in autism - from mouse to man.

Sarah Everts

Student (Psychology)


Project: Multicenter Cross-Sectional Study on Schizophrenia

Simone Gerhart

Laboratory Technician


Expertise: Cell Culture, Immunohistochemistry, PCR, Animal Studies

Imam Hassouna,

Guest Professor


Project: Role of Erythropoietin and Erythropoietin Receptor in the Central Nervous System

Anes Ju

Neurobiologist, PhD-Student


Project: Novel Animal Models of Neuropsychiatric Diseases

Christoph Ott,

Biologist, PhD-Student



Project: Basic Research on EPO - EPO Receptor Role in the Central Nervous System

Bárbara Oliveira,

Molecular Biologist, PhD Student



Projects: (1) Ambra1 and its role in autism (2) Neuronal differentiation of IPS cells (from patients) to contrast phenotypically (at the cellular level) autistic and non-autistic genotypes.

Viktoria Pfander,

Laboratory Technician


Expertise: Lab Management, Immunohistochemistry, PCR, Genotyping

Giulia Poggi,

Biologist, PhD-Student



Project: Multicenter Cross-Sectional Study on Schizophrenia – Studies on Myelin Associated Genes

Anja Ronnenberg,

Laboratory Technician


Expertise: Animal Studies (Behavior), Western Blot Analysis, Immunohistochemistry, Cell Culture.

Beata Stepniak,

Psychologist, PhD-Student


Project: Multicenter Cross-Sectional Study on Schizophrenia – Analyses of Genetic and Environmental Influence on Mental Disease

Wiebke Timner,

Secretarial Administrator


Expertise: Languages (Conversation and Correspondence), Organisation, Management

Daniela Winkler

Biologist, PhD-Student


Project: Novel Animal Models of Neuropsychiatric Diseases

Maria Zerche

Medicine, Doctoral Student


Project: NMDA Receptor Antibody Pathology

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