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Prof. Dr. Gerhard Gründer

The department, which was newly established at the Central Institute for Mental Health on January 1, 2018, examines the neurobiological fundamentals of mental disorders and the mechanisms of action of psychotropic substances. In particular, modern imaging methods, in particular positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance tomography (fMRI), which are performed simultaneously on a PET/MR tomograph, are used. The modern Siemens Biograph mMR PET/MR scanner, which went into operation in 2019, is part of the new research infrastructure at the Center for Innovative Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Research (ZIPP). The department sees itself as a hub for all working groups at the ZI and beyond that want to expand their research approaches to include the study of neurochemistry in the living human brain.

Another focus of the department is translational and clinical psychopharmacology, which aims to use psychotropic drugs in humans, i.e. characterize healthy subjects as well as patients with mental disorders and evaluate their short- and long-term effects. A research unit with six beds is available at the ZIPP for early experimental psychopharmacological studies. Multi-center therapy studies are carried out in cooperation with numerous national and international centers, and contacts to all companies in the research-based pharmaceutical industry allow participation in clinical trials of innovative drugs.

Drug safety and therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) represent a further key point of the department's work. It plays a central role within the TDM group of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Neuropsychopharmacologie und Pharmacopsychiatrie (AGNP). The aim is to improve pharmacotherapy in routine clinical care through personalization, which TDM and pharmacogenetics already allow today.

Selected publications

Veselinović T, Scharpenberg M, Heinze M, Cordes J, Mühlbauer B, Juckel G, Habel U, Rüther E, Timm J, Gründer G; NeSSy Study Group. Disparate effects of first and second generation antipsychotics on cognition in schizophrenia - Findings from the randomized NeSSy trial. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 2019; 29: 720-739

Hansson AC, Gründer G, Hirth N, Noori HR, Spanagel R, Sommer WH. Dopamine and opioid systems adaptation in alcoholism revisited: Convergent evidence from positron emission tomography and postmortem studies. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2019; 106: 141-164

Gründer G, Heinze M, Cordes J, Mühlbauer B, Juckel G, Schulz C, Rüther E, Timm J, NeSSy Study Group (2016). Effects of first-generation antipsychotics versus second-generation antipsychotics on quality of life in schizophrenia: a double-blind, randomised study. Lancet Psychiatry 2016; 3: 717- 729

Rademacher L, Salama A, Gründer G, Spreckelmeyer KN. Differential patterns of nucleus accumbens activation during anticipation of monetary and social reward in young and older adults. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2014; 9: 825-831

Groppe SE, Gossen A, Rademacher L, Hahn A, Westphal L, Gründer G, Spreckelmeyer KN. Oxytocin influences processing of socially relevant cues in the ventral tegmental area of the human brain. Biol Psychiatry 2013; 74: 172-179

Spreckelmeyer KN, Paulzen M, Raptis M, Baltus T, Schaffrath S, Van Waesberghe J, Zalewski MM, Rösch F, Vernaleken I, Schäfer WM, Gründer G. Opiate-induced dopamine release is modulated by severity of alcohol dependence: an [(18)F]fallypride positron emission tomography study. Biol Psychiatry 2011; 70: 770-776

Spreckelmeyer KN, Krach S, Kohls G, Rademacher L, Irmak A, Konrad K, Kircher T, Gründer G. Anticipation of monetary and social reward differently activates mesolimbic brain structures in men and women. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2009; 4: 158-165

Gründer G, Hippius H, Carlsson A. The “atypicality” of antipsychotics: a concept re-examined and re- defined. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 2009; 8: 197-202

Gründer G, Fellows C, Janouschek H, Veselinovic T, Boy C, Bröcheler A, Kirschbaum KM, Hellmann S, Spreckelmeyer KM, Hiemke C, Rösch F, Schaefer WM, Vernaleken I. The brain and plasma pharmacokinetics of aripiprazole in patients with schizophrenia: a [18F]fallypride PET study. Am J Psychiatry 2008; 165: 988-995

Kumakura Y, Cumming P, Vernaleken I, Buchholz HG, Siessmeier T, Heinz A, Kienast T, Bartenstein P, Gründer G. Elevated [18F]fluorodopamine turnover in brain of patients with schizophrenia: an [18F]fluorodopa/positron emission tomography study. J Neurosci 2007; 27: 8080-8087

Gründer G, Carlsson A, Wong DF. Mechanism of new antipsychotic medications: occupancy is not just antagonism. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2003; 60: 974-977


Central Institute of Mental Health

68159 Mannheim

Phone: +49 621/1703 1900


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