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.

Friedrich-Wilhelm Award goes to Dr. Miriam Dyck

Dr. Miriam Dyck has received the Friedrich-Wilhelm award for clinical research awarded by the RWTH Aachen.

She was honored for her excellent dissertation on "Emotional Impairment through Schizophrenia: Emotion Identification and Emotional Experience".

The award ceremony will take place on November 30, in the Aula I lecture hall in the RWTH main building.

Dr. Miriam Dyck was an IRTG stipend and student speaker of the IRTG. Her research was supervised by Klaus Mathiak and Ruben C. Gur.

Veronika Müller received PhD

Veronika Müller held her defense on the 22th of May and received her PhD with summa cum laude.

The title of her dissertation was "Bottom-up und top-down Prozesse bei der Wahrnehmung emotionaler Gesichter" [Bottom-up and top-down processes in facial affect recognition]

We congratulate Veronika on this great success and wish her all the best for her future. Veronika has already commenced her new position as postdoc in the cognitive neuroscience group at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.

Christina Regenbogen received PhD

Christina Regenbogen held her defense on the 11th of May and received her PhD with summa cum laude.

The title of her dissertation was "Empathie in sozialen Gesprächssituationen – multimodale Emotionsverarbeitung" [Empathy in social interactions – multimodal emotion processing].

We congratulate Christina on her great success and wish her all the best for the future. We are especially proud of Christina since she completed her demanding thesis in a very short time. Christina has already commenced her new position as a postdoc in the group of Prof. Ute Habel in Aachen and will continue her work on mutlimodal emotion processing.

Antonia Green received her PhD

Antonia Green, associated student in the IRTG, held her oral defense on the 11th May and received her PhD with magna cum laude.

The title of her dissertation was "Neural integration of iconic and unrelated coverbal gestures: a functional MRI study."

We congratulate Antonia on this success and wish her all the best for her future.

Heinrich-Hertz stipend for Juliane Mühlhaus

Juliane Mühlhaus received a stipend from the Heinrich Hertz foundation. During her time in the IRTG she studied the neural correlates of language production and related impairments in schizophrenia.

Juliane Mühlhaus will use the stipend to spend a research period of six month at the University of Pennsylvania in the lab of Anjan Chatterjee.

DAAD-travel stipend for Karla Schneider

Karla Schneider, stipend holder in the IRTG under supervision of Ute Habel and Ruben Gur received a travel stipend from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). During her time in the IRTG she studied neural correlates of empathy impairments in autism.

Karla Schneider will travel to Toronto from the 17. - 19. May 2012 to visit the “International Meeting for Autism Research - IMFAR 2012”. She will present the results from her study "Neural Correlates of Gender Differences in Patients with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder During Empathy".


Page 7 of 29