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Prof. (apl.) Dr. Sabine Vollstädt-Klein

The Research Group „Neuroimaging of Addictive Behaviour“ investigates the neurobiological underpinnings of addictive behaviour using multimodal imaging. The RG is part of the Department of Addictive Behaviour and Addiction Medicine at the Central Institute of Mental Health.

The research focus is the

  • pathogenesis of addiction disorders

  • identification of mechanisms that trigger relapse

  • identification of neural addiction biomarkers

  • influence of genetic variation in addiction initiation and maintenance („Imaging Genetics“)

The projects do not only cover fundamental research, but also serve to improve and evaluate therapeutic interventions. Besides substance-related disorders (mainly alcohol, tobacco, opioid addiction), the RG is focusing on behavioural addictions in cooperation with the RG on internet and media addiction and the RG on pathological gambling.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the imaging method mainly used with a focus on functional MRI, voxel-based morphometry (VBM), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Additionally to imaging methods, neuropsychological and psychometric methods and questionnaires are developed and validated to examine addictive behaviour.


    National and international joint research projects

    Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg GRK 2350/1: Der Einfluss von Traumatisierung im Kindes- und Jugendalter auf psychosoziale und somatische Erkrankungen über die Lebensspanne, Projekt B5 "Stress sensitivity, emotion processing and cue-reactivity in substance-related disorders: the influence of ACE" (sub-project B5) 04/2019-09/2022.

    TRR/1 TP C01: Losing and Regaining Control: TP Modifcation of the imbalance between goal-directed and habitual behavior (Sub-project C01). 07/2019-06/2022.

    Vollstädt-Klein S. DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft VO 2173/6-1 (multi-center project in cooperation with MIPH Mannheim and DKFZ Heidelberg): The Addictive Potential of the E-Cigarette: Neurobiological, sociological and epidemiological perspectives. 10/2020-09/2022.

    Selected publications

    Kiefer F, Kirsch M, Bach P, Hoffmann S, Reinhard I, Jorde A, Goltz C v d, Spanagel R, Mann K, Loeber S and Vollstädt-Klein S (2015) Effects of D-cycloserine on extinction of mesolimbic cue-reactivity in alcoholism: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Psychopharmacology. 232:2353-2362. doi:10.1007/s00213-015-3882-5

    Strosche A, Zhang X, Kirsch M, Hermann D, Ende G, Kiefer F, Vollstädt-Klein S (2020, epub ahead of print) Investigation of brain functional connectivity to assess cognitive control over cue-processing in Alcohol Use Disorder. Addiction Biology. doi: 10.1111/adb.12863

    Hansson A C, Koopmann A, Uhrig S, Bühler S, Domi E, Kiessling E, Ciccocioppo R, Froemke R C, Grinevich V, Kiefer F, Sommer W H, Vollstädt-Klein S* and Spanagel R* (2018) Oxytocin Reduces Alcohol Cue-Reactivity in Alcohol Dependent Rats and Humans. Neuropsychopharmacology. 43:1235-46. doi:10.1038/npp.2017.257 *equal contribution

    Vollstädt-Klein S*, Gerhardt S*, Lee A, Strosche A, Sharafi G, Nuriyeva R, Seidt J, Hennig O, Alm B, Hermann D, Sommer W H, Kiefer F, Luderer M and Sobanski E (2020) Interaction between behavioral inhibition and neural alcohol cue-reactivity in ADHD and alcohol use disorder. Psychopharmacology. 237, pages1691–1707(2020) doi:10.1007/s00213-020-05492-1 *equal contribution

    Vollstädt-Klein S*, Mildner P*, Bumb JM*, Karl D, Ueberle C, Shevchenko Y, Kiefer F and Effelsberg W (2019, epub ahead of print) The training game SALIENCE for the therapy of alcohol use disorder. Health Informatics Journal. doi:10.1177/1460458219839612 *equal contribution

    Vollstädt-Klein S, Leménager T, Jorde A, Kiefer F and Nakovics H (2015) Development and Validation of the Craving Automated Scale for Alcohol (CAS-A). Alcoholism: Clinical and experimental research. 39:333-342. doi:10.1111/acer.12636

    Vollstädt-Klein S, Hermann D, Rabinstein J, Wichert S, Klein O, Ende G and Mann K (2010) Increased activation of the ACC during a spatial working memory task in alcohol-dependence versus heavy social drinking. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 34:771-776. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2010.01149.x

    Vollstädt-Klein S, Loeber S, Kirsch M, Bach P, Richter A, Buhler M, von der Goltz C, Hermann D, Mann K and Kiefer F (2011) Effects of cue-exposure treatment on neural cue reactivity in alcohol dependence: a randomized trial. Biological Psychiatry. 69:1060-1066. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.12.016

    Vollstädt-Klein S, Loeber S, Richter A, Kirsch M, Bach P, von der Goltz C, Hermann D, Mann K and Kiefer F (2012) Validating incentive salience with functional magnetic resonance imaging: association between mesolimbic cue reactivity and attentional bias in alcohol-dependent patients. Addiction Biology. 17:807-816. doi:10.1111/j.1369-1600.2011.00352.x

    Vollstädt-Klein S, Wichert S, Rabinstein J, Buhler M, Klein O, Ende G, Hermann D and Mann K (2010) Initial, habitual and compulsive alcohol use is characterized by a shift of cue processing from ventral to dorsal striatum. Addiction. 105:1741-1749. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03022.x

    Photo Credits: #1 Central Institute of Mental Health | A: nicht publiziert / selbst erstellt | B/C: A comparison of region-of-interest measures for extracting whole brain data using survival analysis in alcoholism as an example. Journal of Neuroscience Methods.