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Das Bild zeigt eine Ärztin am Schreibtisch im Gespräch mit einem Mann und einer Frau.

Laboratory of Neurotrophins and Laboratory of Clinical Neurobiology

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Group Leader

Prof. Dr. med. Rainer Hellweg

Managing senior physician, Head of research division Experimental Psychiatry and (Epi)Genomics


Silvia Saft
Dr. rer. nat. Friederike Klempin (Guest researcher)
Dr. rer. nat. Leonora Franke (Guest researcher)

Research - Current Direction

Translational and Clinical Research

  • Studies in human subjects on the role of neurotrophic factors (in particular "nerve growth factor" [NGF], "brain-derived neurotrophic factor"[BDNF], and "neurotrophin-3" [NT3]) in aging and neurodegenerative disease, inflammatory diseases, major psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression, schizophrenia, addiction)
  • Serotonergic mechanisms in psychiatric disorders – Investigations in thrombocytes
  • Central and peripheral serotonin transporters – in-vivo measurements in brain and ex-vivo measurements in thrombocytes
  • Circadian rhythms and photobiology – Effects of light on melatonin secretion and wellbeing
  • Poststroke depression
  • Translational neuroimaging

Experimental Research

  • Animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders (depression, stress models, Alzheimer's disease models) – neuroprotective mechanisms of NGF and BDNF, cellular plasticity and neurogenesis
  • Depression in injury models (folate deficiency, stroke, chronic hypoperfusion, neuroinflammation)
  • Antidepressants and neuroprotection

Selected Collaborations

  • Molecular Biology of Peptide Hormones, Max-Delbrück Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, Berlin-Buch
  • Psychiatric Animal Models, Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit, Mannheim
  • Cellular Neurosciences, Max-Delbrück Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, Berlin-Buch
  • Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurologie und Abteilung für Experimentelle Neurologie, Charité CCM
  • Medizinische Klinik m.S. Psychosomatik, Charité CCM
  • Medizinische Klinik m.S. Kardiologie und Angiologie - Schlaftherapie, Charité CCM
  • Genomics of Regeneration, Center for Regenerative Therapies, Dresden
  • Institute of General Practice, Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main