The International Research Training Group “Brain-behavior relationship of emotion and social cognition in schizophrenia and autism” (IRTG 1328) is formed by German and American scientists of the RWTH Aachen University with the University Hospital Aachen, the Research Center Jülich (all within the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance, JARA) and the University of Pennsylvania and is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG). The major aims of the German-American IRTG are interdisciplinary and international scientific co-operation and the support of young scientists with aspiration to cutting-edge research. Three basic principles shape the profile of the IRTG: excellence, innovation and international co-operation. To make allowance for the various aspects of the complex clinical disorders of schizophrenia and autism, scientists from a widespread area of disciplines are involved, including medicine, psychology, biology, physics and computer science, among them some of the world’s leading experts in the respective fields. The excellence of faculty and trainees and the international character of the enterprise combine to provide a uniquely inspiring research environment. The IRTG offers a study program that structures an internationally collaborative doctoral process under joint mentorship of a German and an American supervisor. The participants of the IRTG apply advanced brain imaging techniques, including structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI and fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), magnetoencephalography (MEG), computational modeling of brain dysfunction, receptor distribution and microstructural, architectonic brain mapping, to study the neurobiological basis of emotion processing in schizophrenia and autism.

The IRTG 1328 represents the only structured doctoral program in Germany that is explicitly focused to the neural basis of two clinically and socio-economically highly relevant psychiatric disorders, schizophrenia and autism.

SCID and its application in neuroscience

Precise diagnostics of mental disorders is a major precondition for good clinical research in psychiatry. On Tuesday, 27 November a SCID (Structured Clinical Interview for DSM Disorders) workshop was given by Dr. Martina Reske (RWTH Aachen University Hospital, Department of Psychiatry). The students learned interesting facts about the theoretical background and the practical application of the SCID. The workshop was concluded by a practical example of a structured SCID interview.

Newspaper article now available online

During the Winter School 2007 in Pennsyalvania the Aachen students and professors were accompanied by Axel Borrenkott, a journalist of the Aachener Zeitung. His article on the IRTG 1328 and the Winter School appeared in this week`s Tuesday edition. Please find the article here (available in German only).

RWTH Aachen University of Excellence

The leading position of the RWTH Aachen University in science has been confirmed. The application for the RWTH future concept RWTH 2020: Meeting Global Challenges was approved by the German Research Council (DFG) and the Wissenschaftsrat (Council of Sciences). As a consequece of the excellent judgements the RWTH is now a University of Excellence and one of the leading German universities.

Please read more on the Newsletter page of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (available in German only).

Winter School 2007 of the IRTG 1328

The second IRTG Winter School occurred on October 29 - November 01 in Philadelphia. Nine German professors, one postdoc and 21 IRTG students from Aachen and Jülich spent four days at the University of Pennsylvania and met the American professors, postdocs and graduate students of the IRTG 1328. The group was accompanied by a journalist of the Aachener Zeitung.

The program of each day included talks of the students from Aachen, Jülich, and Philadelphia, as well as from some Penn postdocs. The schedule of the talks was divided into eight thematic sessions, allowing for the different approaches to the overarching topic of normal and disturbed emotions in schizophrenia and autism. In the talks the students and postdocs presented the results of their current work. They were discussed in a friendly and cooperative atmosphere and suggestions for further work were given. The overall feedback of the participants was very positive and the talks and discussions were seen as helpful and beneficial.

The first day`s program was concluded by a fascinating keynote lecture given by Prof. Christos Davatzikos on neuroimaging and structural findings in various disorders including schizophrenia. A welcome party in the BRB lounge offered the opportunity to meet in a warm and informal atmosphere. In the second day`s keynote Prof. Paul Moberg presented cutting-edge research on olfaction in schizophrenia patients. The afternoon was reserved for lab visits as well as student-supervisor meetings. The students and supervisors discussed the progress of their scientific work and scheduled the student`s time at the University of Pennsylvania. In the evening the professors had a faculty meeting whereas a cultural evening for the students gave room for forming friendships. On Wednesday afternoon additional supervisor meetings and lab visits took place, and in the evening a farewell party took place, offering the chance to meet again and exchange impressions and experiences.

The Winter School 2007 was considered a success by all participants and enhanced the cooperation of Philadelphia and Aachen/Jülich, the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance in Neuroscience (JARA-BRAIN) additionally providing new opportunities for researchers and students. The friendly atmosphere and the fruitful cooperation make everybody looking forward to the next Winter School which will take place in Germany again.

Please find the program of the Winter School here.


Winter School 2007 Winter School 2007

Winter School 2007 Winter School 2007

Winter School 2007

Field trip to Technion Haifa

The Technion Haifa (Israel), one of the leading technical universities in the Middle East, has a long standing tradition of cooperation with the RWTH Aachen University and the Research Center Jülich. A study exchange program enables up to three students of the RWTH annually to spend one or two semesters at the Technion. A one week field trip in May 2008 will offer the opportunity to become acquainted with the country of Israel and the Technion Haifa. Interested students should feel encouraged to apply via e-mail until the end of October 2007 at the RWTH Aachen International Office (subject: Israel).

Please find the program and additional information here (available only in German).

Please read more about the Technion Haifa on the official website.

Winter School 2007 in Philadelphia

The Winter School 2007 of the IRTG 1328 will take place from 29 October – 1 November in Philadelphia. The IRTG students will present the preliminary results of their research projects and meet with their US supervisors.

Please find the program here.


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