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.

Dr. Nils Kohn received the Wilhelm-Exner-Price for Psychology 2011

For his work on the neural correlates of gender differences in humor appreciation Nils Kohn received the Wilhelm-Exner-Price for Psychology 2011.

The price, which is awarded anually by the Österreichische Gewerbeverband (ÖGV), is meant to support young scientists in their research on topics in clinical and health psychology. The ceremony took place in the Palais Eschenbach in Vienna on the 28th of November.

Nils Kohn received a gender stipend of the RWTH Third Line Excellence Initiative of the DFG: Future Concept, Mobilizing People Measure and is now a post-doctoral fellow in the IRTG 1328

Dr. Katharina Saß received research award "Imaging in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy"

Dr. Katharina Saß received the research award of the German Association for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (DGPPN) during the 2011 conference in Berlin. Dr. Saß is a postdoctoral fellow within the IRTG 1328. Her research focuses on neurobiological bases of speach and knowledge representation in different psychiatric diseases.

Dr. Katharina Saß aims to apply the price money to the developement of new methods to investigate the neural correlates of speach and semantic procession.

The research award "Imaging in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy" is awarded anually during the DGPPN conference and is endowed with a price money of 25000€. The 2011 award was also granted to Dr. Martin Walter, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität, Magdeburg.

Michael Gandal wins 2011 MINS / NGG Flexner Award

The IRTG 1328 congratulates Michael Gandal, who is the recipient of the 2011 MINS / NGG Flexner Award. Michael did his Ph.D. thesis in the lab of Steven Siegel, M.D., Ph.D., in the Dept. of Psychiatry. Mike was associated in the IRTG for the last 3 years and will return to medical school in the next month.

The Flexner Prize is awarded to the best neuroscience-related PhD thesis of the year at the University of Pennsylvania. The Award is commemorated with a monetary award and a plaque which hangs in the Barchi Library at UPenn.

We congratulate Mike on an outstanding body of work and thank him for his contributions to the IRTG.

Novartis Clinical Research Award goes to Miriam Dyck

Miriam Dyck has received the Novartis Graduate Stipend 2011 for clinical research awarded by the Medical Faculty of the RWTH Aachen University. She was honored for her research on self control of acustic verbal hallucinations using real-time fMRI. Miriam Dyck was an IRTG stipend and student speaker of the IRTG. Her research was supervised by Klaus Mathiak and Ruben C. Gur.

UROP 2011

Since the beginning of June 2011, 4 undergraduate American students are spending their time doing short research internships with the doctoral students of the IRTG. All of them come from different academic backgrounds and currently are part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) at the RWTH Aachen University. They are spending 8-10 weeks in Aachen working on their small research projects.

(from left: J. Blackwell - UPenn, K. Klook - IRTG, V. Pütz - IRTG ,J. Zhou - Rice, J. Zhang - Yale ,J. Mühlhaus - IRTG, S.Shikhare - IRTG, R. Fine -Yale)

First IRTG 1328 Start-Up Grant awarded to Christina Regenbogen

With  the  new  funding  period  of  the  International  Research  Training  Group: Brain-behavior relationship emotion and social cognition in schizophrenia and autism (IRTG 1328; funded by the German Research Foundation [DFG]) the IRTG issued a call start-up grants. The managing board of the IRTG 1328 has now evaluated the grant proposals and has congratulated the applicants on the outstanding quality of their proposals.
The IRTG 1328 is happy to announce the decision of the managing board. The IRTG start up grant 2011 will be awarded to:

Christina Regenbogen

for her project proposal

"Simultaneous EEG-fMRI - Establishing quantitative criteria for quality assurance"

Christina argued that determining quantitative measures for quality assurance will set a promising ground for simultaneous EEG-fMRI experiments at the Aachen site. This will enable to integrate simultaneous measurements and their potential to target unanswered research questions for cognitive and emotional phenomena. Further, with regard to schizophrenia and autism, which are of high interest within the IRTG 1328, an optimized implementation of EEG-fMRI will contribute to a deeper understanding of socio-cognitive dysfunctions related to these disorders.


Page 9 of 29