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.

Prof. Leif Kobbelt erhält Leibniz-Preis

Der Hauptausschuss der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) hat am 5. Dezember 2013 die Preisträgerinnen und Preisträger im Rahmen des Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Programms bekannt gegeben.

Zu den Prämierten gehört unter anderem Prof. Dr. Leif Kobbelt, Universitätsprofessor für Computergraphik und Multimedia an der RWTH Aachen. Der JARA-BRAIN Wissenschaftler forscht unter anderem im Rahmen des Internationalen Graduiertenkollegs IRTG 1328 „Schizophrenie und Autismus“. Den Schwerpunkt seiner Forschungsinteressen bilden die 3D-Rekonstruktion von einfachen Objekten bis hin zu ganzen Städten sowie die Geometrieverarbeitung. Dazu zählt die 3D-Modell-Optimierung für Freiform-Design, Architektur und numerische Simulation sowie Echtzeit-Bilderzeugung zum Beispiel für Computerspiele und Mobile Multimedia Anwendungen. Prof. Kobbelt hat weit über 200 wissenschaftliche Artikel in internationalen Top-Journals und im Rahmen von Konferenzen veröffentlicht. Laut Microsoft Academic Search gehört er zu den Top 10 der weltweit meist zitierten Autoren im Bereich Computergraphik in den letzten zehn Jahren.

Der Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Preis gilt als der wichtigste Forschungsförderpreis in Deutschland.

Winter School 2013 in Philadelphia

This year our annual Winter School was held from the 31st of October until the 3rd of November in Pennsylvania. While Hurricane Sandy put us in weather chaos in 2012, this year the sun gave its best to present Pennsylvania from its shiniest side.

As always, the Winter School has been a time of inspirational talks and highlighting scientific presentations. We celebrated last year´s successful work, which included two IRTG students finishing their doctoral theses as well as several poster and travel awards. Especially our young stipend holders put a lot of effort in shaping our program and presented their ongoing studies. These stipend holders are part of the last IRTG student generation as the current Research Training Group will end in 2015. Nevertheless, the Winter School encouraged us once again to strengthen and continue the collaboration between Aachen and Philadelphia.

The scientific program was enriched through invited talks by Ingo Vernaleken, Bruce Turetsky, Joe Kable and Dirk Feldmeyer. In thesis committee meetings, students had the possibility to discuss their projects with their German and American supervisors.

The relationship between American and European students was cordial and very interactive, fostered by interesting and enjoyable leisure activities. Our Welcome Dinner with a magnificent view over Pennsylvania from the 14th floor of the BBL Building will sure be remembered. Thanks to the contributors of the “Mask and Wig Club”, whose performance made for a great atmosphere at the Welcome Dinner. Some students also visited the Eastern State Penitentiary for a scary walk through the prison.

We are very happy that some American students decided to come to Germany for a research rotation in summer 2014. Last but not least, we look forward to welcoming our American friends and collaborators in Germany for our last Winter School in winter 2014.



Robert Lin received his Ph.D.

Robert Lin received his Ph.D. on April 8, 2013.

The title of his project was "A day in the life of a schizophrenic BRAT rat: pharmacological perturbations of the vasopressin system".

Congratulations, Robert!

Carolin Mößnang received her PhD

Carolin Mößnang held her defense on the 24th of July and received her PhD with summa cum laude.

The title of her dissertation was "Multimodal processing of salience and implications for schizophrenia".

Steven J. Siegel, MD, PhD from the University of Pennsylvania came to Aachen specially for Carolin's defense.

Congratulations, Carolin!

Symposium "Perspektivenwechsel - Gender in den Wissenschaften"

Unter der Leitung von Prof. Ute Habel ('Neuropsychologische Geschlechterforschung'), Prof. Tanja Paulitz ('Soziologie mit dem Schwerpunkt Gender und Technik') und Prof. Carmen Leicht-Scholten ('Gender und Diversity in den Ingenieurwissenschaften') fand an der RWTH Aachen am 19. Juli 2013 das Symposium "Perspektivenwechsel - Gender in den Wissenschaften" statt. Namhafte Experten beleuchteten das Thema Gender aus unterschiedlichen Perspektiven, präsentierten Gender Studies, Innovationen in Forschung und Lehre und legten den Grundstein für interdisziplinäre Kooperationen für zukünftige Studien in diesem faszinierenden Forschungsfeld.

Symposium Impressions

Anna Gossen received her PhD

Anna Gossen received her PhD on the 17th of July, 2013.

The title of her dissertation was "Neural evidence for an association between social proficiency and sensitivity to social reward".

Congratulations, Anna!


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