Project Co-ordinator:

Prof. Leszek Kaczmarek
Nencki Institute
Warsaw, POLAND


Project Manager:

Ms. Marta Rucinska
Nencki Institute
Warsaw, POLAND


Recruitment Co-ordinator

Prof. Alexander Dityatev
Deutsches Zentrum fur
Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen
Magdeburg, GERMANY


Training Co-ordinator

Prof. Robert Pawlak
University of Exeter Medical School
Exeter, UK

ESR8:    Normal variation in ECM-relevant gene families, MMP-9 and FragileX related genes: Contribution to neuropsychiatric phenotypes (lead: MPG, partners: NENCKI, DZNE-2a, SVIDA).

Barbara Oliveira












The project, extending from a large human database to mouse models and cellular systems, aims at analyzing the contribution of genes relevant for the extracellular matrix (ECM) to neuropsychiatric phenotypes in general and to schizophrenic subphenotypes in particular. This knowledge may later be exploited for novel therapeutic approaches.

This PhD fellowship, primarily focusing on neurogenetics research, is available at the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Clinical Neuroscience, headed by Prof. Dr. Dr. Hannelore Ehrenreich ( Main focus of our research is TRANSLATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE. We are interested in (1) the molecular-cellular basis of neuropsychiatric diseases, pathophysiological mechanisms and endogenous neuroprotection, (2) preclinical and clinical research on neuroregeneration in acute and chronic brain diseases  and (3) phenotype-based genetic association studies (PGAS) as a tool to understand the genotype contribution to (disease) phenotypes.

For more information about our research, please see our recent papers, for instance:

  • Hammer C, Stepniak B, Schneider A, Papiol S, Tantra M, Begemann M, Sirén AL, Pardo LA, Sperling S, Mohd Jofrry S, Gurvich A, Jensen N, Ostmeier K, Lühder F, Probst C, Martens H, Gillis M, Saher G, Assogna F, Spalletta G, Stöcker W, Schulz TF, Nave KA, Ehrenreich H. (2013) Neuropsychiatric disease relevance of circulating anti-NMDA receptor autoantibodies depends on blood-brain barrier integrity. Mol Psychiatry, Epub ahead of print.
  • El-Kordi A, Kästner A, Grube S, Klugmann M, Begemann M, Sperling S, Hammerschmidt K, Hammer C, Stepniak B, Patzig J, de Monasterio-Schrader P, Strenzke N, Flügge G, Werner H, Pawlak R, Nave KA, Ehrenreich H (2013) A single gene defect causing claustrophobia. Translational Psychiatry, in press
  • Hagemeyer N, Goebbels S, Papiol S, Kästner A, Hofer S, Begemann M, Gerwig UC, Boretius S, Wieser GL, Ronnenberg A, Gurvich A, Heckers SH, Frahm J, Nave KA, Ehrenreich H (2012) A myelin gene causative of a catatonia-depression syndrome upon aging. EMBO Mol Med 4:528-39
  • Grube S, Gerchen MF, Adamcio B, Pardo LA, Martin S, Malzahn D, Papiol S, Begemann M, Ribbe K, Friedrichs H, Radyushkin KA, Müller M, Benseler F, Riggert J, Falkai P, Bickeböller H, Nave KA, Brose N, Stühmer W, Ehrenreich H (2011) A CAG repeat polymorphism of KCNN3 predicts SK3 channel function and cognitive performance in schizophrenia. EMBO Mol Med 3:309-19.
  • Ribbe K, Ackermann V, Schwitulla J, Begemann M, Papiol S, Grube S, Sperling S, Friedrichs H, Jahn O, Sillaber I, Gefeller O, Krampe H, Ehrenreich H (2011) Prediction of the risk of comorbid alcoholism in schizophrenia by interaction of common genetic variants in the corticotropin releasing factor system. Arch Gen Psych 68: 1247-56.
  • Wüstenberg T, Begemann M, Bartels C, Gefeller O, Stawicki S, Hinze-Selch D, Mohr A, Falkai P, Aldenhoff JB, Knauth M, Nave KA, Ehrenreich H (2011) Recombinant human erythropoietin delays loss of gray matter in chronic schizophrenia. Molecular Psychiatry 16: 26-36.
  • Begemann M, Klaus S, Papiol S, Malzahn D, Krampe H, Ribbe K, Friedrichs H, Radyushkin KA, El-Kordi A, Benseler F, Hannke K, Sperling S, Schwerdtfeger D, Thanhäuser I, Gerchen MF, Ghorbani M, Gutwinski S, Hilmes C, Leppert R, Ronnenberg A, Sowislo J, Stawicki S, Stödtke M, Szuszies C, Reim K, Riggert J, Falkai P, Bickeböller H, Nave KA, Brose N, Ehrenreich H (2010) Complexin2 gene polymorphisms modify cognitive performance in schizophrenia. Arch Gen Psych 67: 879-88.

Research in the Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine is focused on basic and clinical neuroscience – 'from molecules to diseases'. Core facilities at the institute include a proteomics facility, an EM facility, a confocal and live cell imaging facility, a cell sorter facility, and an outpatient clinic. The Institute plays a pivotal role in the Göttingen neuroscience community as a central provider of technologies and through collaborations in several large local consortia, such as DFG Center for Nanoscale Microscopy & Molecular Physiology of the Brain (CNMPB). The methods spectrum applied in the Clinical Neuroscience Group includes cell biology, light-microscopic imaging, electrophysiology, rodent behavior, and clinical analyses. We run a comprehensive rodent behavior facility and have generated a large and detailed schizophrenia patient database (Göttingen Research Association for Schizophrenia, GRAS).