Central Institute of Mental Health
Department of Genetic Epidemiology in Psychiatry
68219 Mannheim


Project leader

Prof. Dr. Marcella Rietschel

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Project staff

Josef Frank
Senior researcher

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Institute presentation

The Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH) is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for clinical and research psychiatry. The CIMH was founded in 1975, and delivers outstanding scientific research and teaching in partnership with institutions at home and abroad. From hyperactivity disorders to depression and dementia, from addictive personalities to schizophrenia and "stalking", from eating disorders to dream research and phobias - the researchers at the CIMH examine the ways in which mental illness occurs, develops, and is medically treated.

The CIMH researchers are engaged in an ongoing process of elucidating the complex interconnections in the human brain, and of developing new therapeutic methods. Through its input to a range of psychiatric research fields, the CIMH has made an outstanding contribution to mental wellbeing. This has been achieved through work within the Baden-Württemberg Addiction Research Programme, the collaborative research centre 636 project ("Learning, Memory, and Brain Plasticity: implications for Psychopathology"), and in numerous other areas of research.

The Department of Genetic Epidemiology in Psychiatry is one of the main research departments at the CIMH, and the major focus of its work is to identify the genetic and environmental factors involved in the aetiology of mental disorders and response to pharmacotherapy. This work includes highly standardised (endo)phenotype characterisation, genotyping, and advanced statistical analysis. The Department is equipped with a state-of-the-art molecular genetics laboratory for the performance of high-throughput genotyping and sequencing, epigenetic studies, and for the analysis of gene expression. The laboratory also provides expertise and logistics for the establishment of large collections of biomaterials (blood, DNA, RNA, serum, plasma) for collaborating partners at the CIMH as well for other national and international collaborators.

In terms of its contribution to public health, the Department is engaged in an ongoing process of trying to develop potential prevention strategies for mental disorders on the basis of biological parameters.

The Department is also involved in studies investigating the ethical aspects of psychiatric genetic research.