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.

Call for Applications: Young Researchers Transatlantic Academy for German and American PhD students


June 12-16, 2011

Philadelphia, PA

In the summer of 2011, the Juelich Aachen Research Alliance (Germany) and the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science will host an interdisciplinary 5-day Young Researchers Transatlantic Academy focusing on transferable skills for doctoral students. This challenging academic and professional development program aims to strengthen participants' global skills, improve their chances for funding and executing German-American research collaboration, and foster intercultural awareness.


Theme for 2011: The Brain

Applications are encouraged from PhD candidates whose work somehow relates to the brain, including matters of neuroscience and neurological illness, medical imaging, perception, vision, information processing, and implications for machine learning. Presentations and practical exercises will be complemented by work in small groups, giving students the chance to further develop their skills and interact with scientists and researchers in related fields from outstanding German and American institutions. The program will center on the following key themes:


  • Strategies for collaborative success in brain-related research

  • Intercultural communication and awareness

  • Successful grant seeking for transatlantic research cooperation

  • Leadership and entrepreneurship in an international context


Please visit http://www.international.rwth-aachen.de/aw/~uot/young_researchers_transatlantic_academy/?lang=en for further information and application details. Applications are due by February 15.


New doctoral fellowship

A PhD fellowship in the IRTG 1328 for an excellent young researcher has been awarded to Vanessa Pütz. Her project is entitled "Neuronal correlates of social pain in children in foster care and adoption" and will be supervised by Prof. Kerstin Konrad (RWTH) and Prof. Robert Schultz (PENN). She will work at the Department of Child an Adolescent Psychiatry in the Section Clinical Child Neuropsychology.

Undergraduate research opportunities in Germany

In 2011, t he IRTG 1328 offers funded research internships for undergraduate students from research fields connected to the projects of the Research Training Group (medicine, neuroscience, psychology, biology, physics, informatics, and related fields). The students will conduct their own experiment from planning to publication under supervision of IRTG student supervisors and professors. The projects are offered within the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP), offered by the RWTH Aachen University. Apart from a lucrative scholarship, the undergraduate program offers a variety of cultural events and language courses.
Deadline for application is 31 January 2011. Interested students from the University of Pennsylvania should not hesitate to apply via the websites of the undergraduate programs.

Wilhelm-Exner-Preis für Psychologie 2010

A member of the IRGT 1328 received the Wilhelm-Exner-Preis of psychology - 2010 on "Neuroscience in Healthpsychology".

Dr. Eva Maria Seidel was honored for her dissertation at the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics on the topic "Neuronal or rather behavioral correlate emotional and cognitive processes of social interaktion."

Hans-Heimann-Preis 2010 goes to Prof. Habel and Dr. Seubert

The speaker of the IRTG Prof Ute Habel and alumni Dr. Janina Seubert received the Hans-Heimann-Preis 2010 of the DGPPN for outstanding dissertation research. The Hans-Heimann-Preis is awarded annually to PhD students and their supervisors, working on issues related to mental health.

Winter School 2010

The 5th annual Winter School of the International Research Training Group (IRTG) “Brain-behavior relationship of emotion and social cognition in schizophrenia and autism” was held from October 11-15 in Aachen. This year’s Winter School was the first in the new funding period of the IRTG 1328. The past year was focused on the renewal application and the onsite evaluation by the DFG. Due to the joint efforts of Aachen, Philadelphia and Jülich researchers and students we finally succeeded. In celebration of this prolongation, opening remarks were given by Prof. Schneider and Prof. Gur as speakers of the IRTG, the rector of the RWTH Aachen University, Prof. Schmachtenberg, the Chairman of the University Hospital, Prof. Saß and the coordinator of the (International) Research Training Groups of the DFG, Dr. Granderath.

The new funding period started with the largest Winter School the IRTG 1328 has held so far, 68 participants took part in scientific discussion and social events.

The Winter School 2010 was, as usual, the ideal forum for presenting and discussing the results of the current generation of students. The majority of them are in the middle of their Ph.D. time. In the diverse sessions, each focused on a major topic of interest, the students gave interesting insight into their work and welcomed the opportunity to enter into scientific discussion with senior researchers from both sides.

The Winter School 2010 also featured several invited talks, for instance by Wolfgang Grodd, Steven Siegel and Leif Kobbelt. An invited symposium on “Structural and Functional Multimodal Biomarkers of Autism“ by Tim Roberts, Jeff Berman and Ragini Verma completed the rich scientific program.

Our Winterschool 2010 was an interesting, stimulating and worthwhile meeting from both a scientific and a social perspective, friendships were renewed, new friends were made and collaborations were built and extended. We are already looking forward to the next Winter School in October 2010 in Philadelphia.


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