Our Vision for Future Careers
We intend to found the graduate school “Translational Mental Health Science” that will be largely modelled based on the first excellence school to be established in Thuringia, the Jena School for Microbial Communications. Its hallmarks are training in three pillars of scientific skills, providing each doctoral researcher with a primary and secondary supervisor as well as an independent thesis progress committee. Furthermore, emphasis will be put on transferable skills and mentoring according to a credit-based system, doctoral representation on the executive board and the inclusion of post-docs in the training program as well as in the capacity of junior members of the progress committees. We will seek inclusion into the Jena Alliance of Graduate Schools “Life in Focus” whose mission is to promote interdisciplinary graduate training in the life and optical sciences, which is closely aligned with the identity of C-I-R-C. In addition, the training and practice of future psychotherapists as “scientific practitioners” requires a comprehensive scientific understanding and qualification, which makes a strong collaboration desirable.
We Support Young Scientists
New and unexpected findings are generated through specifically promoted interactions of committed young scientists from clinical disciplines and theoretical institutes. Accordingly, the individual support for determined young scientists with innovative ideas is an essential prerequisite for nationally and internationally visible research achievements.
C-I-R-C partner sites enjoy a long-standing tradition in structured graduate programs:
|ESF graduate school “ABINEP” „Analysis, Imaging and Modelling of Neuronal and Inflammatory Processes“|
|DFG-RTG 2413 “SynAGE”|
|DFG-RTG 2467 ”Intrinsically Disordered”|
|Joint DFG-RTG 2155 ”ProMoAge”|
|Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences (CBBS) graduate program|
|Graduate School „Molecular organization of cellular communication within the immune system“ within the Collaborative Research Center CRC 854.|
|Career building programs supported by the Else Kröner Research Colleges (EKFKs) – Magdeburg and Jena|
|Jena School for Microbial Communication (JSMC)|
|Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research (IZKF)|
Gender Equality and Diversity
All partner sites have initiated and increased the visibility of women at all academic levels and have established clear guidelines and measures to fulfill this goal. Our aim is to achieve gender equality continued development, implementation and evaluation of orchestrated and target group-oriented measures for gender equality.
Promotion of equal opportunities for women and men as well as support of diversity are major goals at all administrative levels. To address women, men and diverse people with the same fairness and appreciation as each other, all partners are specifically focusing on making w/m/d visible and reachable in written and spoken language.
In addition, the Friedrich Schiller University Jena has been selected by the EU Commission to co-found a “European University”, which is is a multi-cultural and multi-lingual alliance with the goal to create a pan-European campus connected by the common European identity.
In addition, C-I-R-C has special programs like Gender*educates, which aims to embed Gender and Queer Studies in teaching and research and “FEM POWER- Women in the Science“ in Magdeburg and Halle, supported by the European Structure Fund (ESF). The Friedrich Schiller University Jena has been awarded the “Total e-Quality” title in 2008-2011, 2011-2014, and 2015-2017 for outstanding progress in promoting equal opportunities and was an elected member of the best practice club “Familie in der Hochschule (Family in the University)” in 2008.
The Dorothea-Erxleben guest professorship is a good example of a funding instrument to support young female researchers in later career stages at the the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg. The Karin-Witte Prize is awarded every two years to outstanding female postdoctoral researchers from the MINT disciplines in Magdeburg.
The Martin Luther University Halle has been successful in the women professorship program for the third time in a row with its concept for the future of equality.
The task of balancing partnerships, family life, and career for men, women, and diverse people plays a central role in organizational development. All universities have flexible working hours and IT equipment for home office and dual-career opportunities are further measures already in place. Several special measures and programs exist for family friendliness: family offices, child-care rooms on the campus, and facilities for children like kindergartens directly on campus.
As one of the founders of the Jena Alliance for Family, Jena University stands for the compatibility of having children and studying.
Scientists for Future
The young scientists have already proven themselves through their work and research with outstanding results and will have a decisive impact on the future of C-I-R-C. Today, they carry our trust and confidence. Tomorrow, they will carry the future of mental health and scientific excellence.
Prof. Dr. Elena AzañónSomatosensory and Body Perception, MagdeburgElena Azañón is head of the Somatosensory and Body Perception Lab at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology and at Otto-von-Guericke University. Her research investigates the psychological and neural mechanisms of tactile perception and body representation in humans and how they affect all aspects of our mental lives. Part of her research is also devoted to the study of imagery as a tool for perception and learning, and the impact imagery has on emotion and memory. She will contribute to the center by studying behavioural and neural mechanisms of somatosensory perception, affective touch and imagery in neuropsychiatric disorders, using a combination of psychophysical paradigms and electrophysiology with the ultimate aim of providing targeted psychiatric disease interventions.
Dr. Sanja Bauer MikulovicNeurobiology, MagdeburgSanja Bauer Mikulovic is head of the newly established research group at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology in Magdeburg. She runs a research program on how cognition and emotion are interacting in the brain and how these processes influence learning and social interactions. Her major expertise is neural circuits investigation using electrophysiology, Calcium imaging and optogenetics. She will contribute with the research line on how chronic stress and anxiety influence social interactions and the underlying neural mechanisms. She will collaborate with the groups of A. Albrecht, S. Remy, J. Pakan, O. Stork, M. Sauvage, I. Dunay in Magdeburg and R. Stumm in Jena.
Dr. med. Bianca BesteherPsychiatry and Psychotherapy, JenaBianca Besteher has a fellowship in the Advanced Clinician Scientist Program (IZKF, Jena) and is an expert in the application of structural MRI in the context of dimensional psychopathology in depressive and overlapping symptoms. She is head of a junior research group investigating biotypes in the spectrum of depression via multimodal brain imaging.
Dr. Lejla ColicPsychiatry and Psychotherapy, JenaLejla Colic is a junior group leader in the Department for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, UKJ. Her research focuses on neurobiological mechanisms after early life trauma, and the underlying development and pathophysiology of mood disorders. She is interested in using multimodal neuroimaging in future drug development as well as in the facilitation of patient stratification for targeted treatments.
PD Dr. med. Olivia EngmannHuman Genetics, JenaOlivia Engmann is a group leader for neuro-epigenetics in the Institute for Human Genetics at Jena University Hospital. She explores fast-acting antidepressant pathways in mouse models using viral mediated gene transfer, 3D dendritic spine imaging, next generation sequencing approaches and CRISPR epigenome editing. Promising changes in key molecular targets are then validated using human postmortem brain tissue. Dr. Engmann will be able to share technical expertise as well as large sample sets with the C-I-R-C network and hopes to translate her findings to patients via clinical trials.
Dr. Dorothea HämmererCognitive Neurology and Dementia Research, MagdeburgDorothea Hämmerer is head of the working group on developmental cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging in dementia at the Institute of Cognitive Neurology and Dementia research at the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg. Her major expertise is in developing cognitive paradigms that isolate cognitive functions associated with dopaminergic and noradrenergic modulation as well as in using novel neuroimaging methods that allow to characterize neuromodulatory brain networks in different ages or patient groups. She is also co-founder of the Magdeburg meeting on imaging the noradrenergic system. She will contribute to translational circuit imaging and to identifying novel neural access points in neuromodulatory brain systems.
Dr. Esther KühnCortical Microstructure Research, MagdeburgEsther Kühn is head of the Cortical Microstructure Research Group. She runs a research program on adaptive and maladaptive plasticity of the human sensorimotor system that she investigates using ultra-high field magnetic resonance imaging in combination with behavioral assessments, VR, and interventions. Her research aim is to understand and treat pathological brain states, in particular those that lead to maladaptive behavior. She will contribute to the center by her ERC awarded research program on body memory that investigates how maladaptive memory formation contributes to the development of somatic symptoms and somatoform disorders, and how it can be used to optimize their diagnosis and treatment.
Dr. Janelle PakanNeural Circuits & Network Dynamics, MagdeburgJanelle Pakan is head of the Neural Circuits & Network Dynamics research group funded by the Center for Behavioural Brain Sciences at the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg. Her research is focused on functional neural circuits that underly the transformation of sensory information to behavioural output in both health and disease states. She utilizes advanced two-photon imaging in behaving mice in combination with virtual environments and functional neuroanatomical techniques to investigate cell-type specific adaptive plasticity in sensory systems due to behavioural modification. Through ongoing collaborations with both local and international partners, her research also directly relates behavioural readouts with neuronal activity across multiple scales in both humans and animal models – an important aspect of translational circuit imaging in psychiatric conditions.
Dr. phil. Katharina RufenerNeuropsychology, MagdeburgKatharina Rufener is Principal Investigator at the Neuropsychology Section, Department of Neurology Magdeburg. She runs a research project on the effects of transcranial electrical stimulation in children and adolescents diagnosed with developmental dyslexia. Here, she establishes an intervention that can be carried out by the patients and their caregivers independently at home. In addition, she is interested in electrophysiological biomarkers in dyslexia and their potential as diagnostic criteria. Her major expertise is in the area of non-invasive brain stimulation of the human auditory system, including speech and language processing. She will collaborate with Kerstin Krauel in Magdeburg and Carolin Ligges in Jena to investigate the neurophysiology and transcranial electrical stimulation of dyslexia.
Dr. med. Max-Philipp StennerMotor Learning Lab, MagdeburgMax-Philipp Stenner is head of the Motor Learning Lab at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology and at Otto-von-Guericke University, and deputy head of the LIN Department of Behavioral Neurology. His research, funded by a Freigeist Fellowship of the Volkswagen Foundation, investigates how human motor control and perception interact for motor learning, and how our subjective experience of control emerges from this interaction. As a clinician scientist, he is particularly interested in the subjective experience of control in neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, including Tourette’s syndrome, ADHD, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (in collaboration with Martin Walter, Gerd Wagner, Carolin Ligges, Florian Zepf, and Kerstin Krauel). His major expertise is a combination of psychophysics with human non-invasive and invasive neurophysiology, including magneto- and electroencephalography as well as intracranial and spinal recordings of local field potentials in humans.
Dr. rer. nat. Judith WesenbergBehavioral Brain Sciences, MagdeburgJudith Wesenberg (nee Machts) is a postdoctoral fellow funded by the Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences (CBBS) at the Institute for Cognitive Neurology and Dementia Research. She leads a project on the development of motor-free language assessments in neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases where she combines her expertise in functional and structural brain imaging with her background in neuropsychology. Apart from that, she has worked at the interface of Psychiatry and Neurology with a particular interest in psychiatric features leading to behavioral changes in neurodegenerative conditions. Within the C-I-R-C initiative, she will contribute to the investigation of (mal)adaptive circuits underlying interpersonal and social behavior. She closely collaborates with partners from the DZNE and LIN Magdeburg.
Dr. Gabriel ZieglerModelling and Neuroprognosis, MagdeburgGabriel Ziegler is a principal investigator of the group of modelling and neuroprognosis at the Institute of Cognitive Neurology and Dementia Research (IKND, OvGU, Magdeburg). His work focusses on state-of-the art statistical (AI) approaches to latent variable modelling of brain-behavioral relationships, individual differences, and disease progression in psychiatric development, ageing and dementia research using large-scale longitudinal MRI data. He has made several innovative contributions in developmental cognitive neuroscience using multivariate and kernel methods, Gaussian Processes, dynamical systems and Bayesian inference. His recent working group on neuroprognosis implements MR-based predictive models for memory performance and develops multivariate functional and structural indices of brain maintenance in collaboration with Christian Gaser on BrainAge (UKJ, Jena). He was recently awarded with an NIH pilot grant for multivariate modelling of cognitive reserve in ageing and dementia and is part of the in-vivo histology MRI working group that establishes new analysis techniques for quantitative multi-modal MRI. Gabriel also contributes as PI to the newly established SFB 1436 with a project on dynamic modelling of training-induced plasticity using multi-parametric MRI and response optimization under adaptive training & testing (in collaboration with Marco Taubert, OvGU, Magdeburg).
- Prof. Dr. Elena Azañón
- Dr. Sanja Bauer Mikulovic
- Dr. med. Bianca Besteher
- Dr. Lejla Colic
- PD Dr. med. Olivia Engmann
- Dr. Dorothea Hämmerer
- Dr. Esther Kühn
- Dr. Janelle Pakan
- Dr. phil. Katharina Rufener
- Dr. med. Max-Philipp Stenner
- Dr. rer. nat. Judith Wesenberg
- Dr. Gabriel Ziegler