Central Institute of Mental Health

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

68159, Mannheim


Project leader

Prof. Dr. Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg
Coordinator and Leader of WP1 Central infrastructure and WP7 Dissemination
Phone: +49 621 1703 2001
Fax: +49 621 1703 2005

Project staff

Prof. Dr. Marcella Rietschel
Workpackage leader of WP6 Ethics
Phone: +49 621 1703 6051
Emanuel Schwarz, Ph.D
Co-Coordinator and Co-Leader of WP1 Central infrastructure and WP7 Dissemination
Phone: +49 621 1703 6516

Institute presentation

The Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH) is one of Europe’s leading research institutions dedicated to mental health. Its wide-ranging research activities are based on a combination of extensive in- and outpatient programmes with full access to research dedicated, state-of the art magnetic resonance imaging facilities (MRI) of 1.5 and 3 Tesla as well as high-throughput facilities for genotyping and molecular biology. The department of psychiatry and psychotherapy and its 17 research groups focus on the characterization of risk mechanisms for psychiatric illnesses and their translation into novel therapeutic and diagnostic approaches, using structural and functional brain abnormalities and their genetic and environmental determinants as a main approach. CIMH’s Department of Genetic Epidemiology in Psychiatry focusses on identifying genetic and environmental causal factors for mental disorders, with a particular focus on affective, schizophrenia-spectrum, and addiction disorders. The department conducts detailed phenotype characterization of large, internationally collected samples of patients. Genotyping of the DNA of these patients and their relatives is performed in the Department’s fully equipped molecular genetics laboratory.

Prof. Dr. Meyer-Lindenberg is director of the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, chairman of its department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy and chair at the University of Heidelberg. Meyer-Lindenberg has worked extensively on neural mechanisms of risk for psychiatric disorders, especially schizophrenia and affective disorders through an innovative approach which combines neuroimaging, genetics and behavioral characterizations to identify specific neural risk mechanisms which can be localized to specific functional networks and genes acting in the CNS. Among other work in the field of “imaging genetics”, his group has contributed first identification of a neural risk mechanism associated with a genome wide significant genetic risk variant related to schizophrenia. He has also characterized neural mechanisms for social risk factors for neuropsychiatric disorders and has developed several of his discoveries into potential biomarkers for antipsychotic medication.

Prof. Dr. Marcella Rietschel is Director of both the Department of Genetic Epidemiology in Psychiatry and the CIMH molecular genetics laboratory at Heidelberg University/Medical Faculty Mannheim. She is a Professor of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy and a medical geneticist, and is an expert in all aspects of formal and molecular psychiatric genetics. Her research focus is the search for genetic and environmental risk factors for psychiatric disorders, in particular affective disorders, schizophrenia, and alcohol dependence. A specific emphasis of her work is the refining of phenotype-genotype correlations across diagnostic categories through the application of advanced statistical techniques. Marcella Rietschel has established large collections of data from psychiatric patients and the general population, as well as a biomaterial bank for DNA, plasma, serum, and RNA samples. Her group is among the leading research teams in psychiatric genetics worldwide. Her other research interest is the study of the ethical, legal, and social aspects of psychiatric genetics.

Dr Emanuel Schwarz is a research scientist at the CIMH with significant experience in the discovery of diagnostic and predictive/prognostic biomarkers for psychiatric disorders. He coordinated the statistical analysis for numerous biomarker discovery projects for schizophrenia, affective and autism spectrum disorders. These investigations led to the development and clinical translation of VeriPsychTM, the first ever molecular test to aid in the diagnosis of schizophrenia.