Center for Intervention and Research on adaptive and maladaptive brain Circuits underlying mental health

Meet the C-I-R-C in Our Image Video:

C-I-R-C will become a future site of the German Center for Mental Health

The health of our mind and brain is influenced by many factors, such as genetic predispositions, early childhood experiences and education, social interactions, physical exercise and nutrition, and traumatic and stressful episodes. In addition, global psychosocial challenges like the current pandemic strongly contribute to how we feel, perceive and interact with the world.

At C-I-R-C a unique circuit-driven concept and proven research paradigms at multiple scales enable us to focus on how immune factors, inflammatory processes, and microbiome changes affect our mental health and well-being. We aim to find neural access points in the brain where such factors take action  to modify our mood, mind and body response, and where new treatment solutions can arise.

Since the German reunification, the Mid-German region – represented by the federal states of Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia – has developed a rich landscape of top-level scientific institutions and extensive research infrastructure in the field of biomedicine with a particular strategic focus on Neuroscience, Inflammation and Ageing research.

Serving as a historical hub of the optics industry, the Mid-German region has a world-leading reputation in bioimaging from nano- to macroscale that we aim to combine with excellence in social/interpersonal interaction research as a key psychological dimension of mental health across all age groups.

In the three university towns of Magdeburg, Jena and Halle, numerous non-university research institutes have been founded and established research partnerships with the universities, and a steadily growing community of start-up businesses is driving translation of research into medical and industrial applications.

Our Vision

Combined forces for a future C-I-R-C

The Mid-German regions of Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt join together in the C-I-R-C-entitled endeavour to create a network of joint strategic research on adaptations of neural circuits in mental disorders across all developmental ages and stages of life.

Over the past 30 years the federal states have developed a rich landscape of top-level scientific institutions and extensive research infrastructure in the field of biomedicine with strategic focus on Neuroscience, Inflammation and Ageing research.

C-I-R-C as an internationally competitive biomedical competence-hub is strategically well-placed at the intersection between circuit-driven research and behavioural outcomes.


Our major strengths are:

  • Multiscale, multispecies research into brain circuitries underlying maladaptive processes in abnormal social interaction
  • Inflammatory processes and their influence on neuroplasticity mechanisms
  • A track record of multi-scale bio-imaging method development.

In the C-I-R-C we aim to use this unique and integrative portfolio towards the elucidation of neural access points (NAPs).

We particularly focus on longitudinal profiles of these processes and markers in different time scales. In collaboration with the specific expertise of other future members of the German Center for Mental Health this will ultimately result in novel diagnostic markers and therapeutic interventions.

Our Network

A strong and multi-faceted network is essential for success.

Our network of expertise includes the competencies of top-level scientists from Jena, Halle and Magdeburg.

We will built on well-established interdisciplinary networks, both at a structural and bilateral level. This is reflected by highly successful joint research programs that particularly foster interdisciplinarity and exploit the translational potential in mental health research.

A Bird’s Eye View of Our C-I-R-C Sites (Drone Flight)




The C-I-R-C will have a huge impact

Public outreach, consumer, and carer involvement is key to counteract prejudice and negative attitudes against patients with mental health problems and helps to improve compliance and therapeutic outcomes. C-I-R-C outreach programs address all relevant target groups, from the public to patients and their relatives, advocacy groups, practitioners, and healthcare stakeholders.

The C-I-R-C will provide together with multiple local partners substantial benefits to public science, patient care and prevention of mental health problems.


A solid infrastructure is crucial to successful research

The interdisciplinary infrastructure of the C-I-R-C partner sites is ideally set up for achieving our aim of translating circuit-level imaging research into translational benefits for multiple patient groups as well as educational gains for young clinicians.

3D Visuali­zation and 360° Tour of Our Facilities at the Jena Site

Careers with Opportunities

Building a long-term future concept

To do this, it is essential to train scientifically interested physicians as well as clinically inspired and interested natural scientists for joint research projects. Hence, we provide

  • Specific Postgraduate Programs (young scientists / early career programs)
  • Clinician, Medical Scientist & other advanced career programs
  • Measures for gender equality, diversity
  • Compatibility of scientific career and family
  • Recruitment of excellent, international experts