Psychiatric disorders are among the major burdens of disease worldwide. Improving treatment outcomes and minimizing the rate of treatment resistant courses by avoiding poorly structured or inadequate treatments and at the same time provide a cost-effective therapy is of rising importance. To date, due to the complexity of these disorders, only limited information is available on the molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling behavioral traits and, therefore, psychiatric diseases.
My major focus is stress-related disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders: We will further increase our broad research platform in order to precisely characterize patients according to their phenotype beyond the conventional diagnostic algorithms, which rely entirely upon verbal communication.
We will increase laboratory assessments such as neuroendocrine and neuropsychological tests as well as refined neuroimaging to complement the psychopathological phenotype with a functional phenotype.
Genetic and epigenetic factors underlying stress-related pathophysiology will be explored. The goal is to contribute to a new, biology-based taxonomy of psychiatric disease and to develop treatments and preventive strategies targeted to the underlying biological trajectories.