IRTG 1328 Schizophrenia and Autism


Ute Habel © Copyright: Copyright @ Peter Winandy +49-171-4892738


Ute Habel

RWTH Coordinator of the Research Training Group


+49 241 80-85230



Brain-Behavior Relationship of Normal and Disturbed Emotions in Schizophrenia and Autism



Recent developments in neuropsychiatry research are poised to produce a paradigmatic shift in behavioral neuroscience. In particular, advances in brain imaging techniques and their applications will further impact integration of neurobiological with behavioral measures and thus fundamentally change diagnosis, therapy and prevention of psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Emotion dysfunction is a core symptom in schizophrenia and autism, and may result in impaired social interactions. Within the framework of the International Research Training Group (IRTG), emotion processing therefore is a useful focus to examine the basic pathophysiological mechanisms.

  Man looking at scans on a computer


Research on the dysfunctional processing of emotion will be studied in informative populations of patients and healthy people by means of behavioral, structural and functional brain imaging. Modulation of function will be examined by means of behavioral and pharmacological intervention in order to investigate neural reorganization. Information is thus gained concerning the brain mechanisms of

  1. emotion and the interaction with cognitive functions, such as memory and language, and
  2. the role of dysfunctional systems in schizophrenia and autism including developmental aspects.

The participants of the IRTG intend to apply advanced brain imaging techniques, including structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI and fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), magnetoencephalography (MEG), receptor distribution and microstructural, architectonic brain mapping; all dedicated to studying emotion processing.

Partner Institutions: UPenn and Forschungszentrum Jülich

In collaboration with partners from Computer Science, Linguistics and Brain Imaging, the latter located at Forschungszentrum Jülich, we will further develop tools for measuring and analyzing brain activity related to emotion processing within the framework of the Brain Imaging Center West.

In all of these areas, partner scientists are working at the University of Pennsylvania who will be involved in joint projects, promote the students during their mobility period, and jointly supervise their dissertations. An extensive exchange and rotation program for students, researchers and professors will be the basis for this IRTG.

Vacancies and Scholarships

For open positions and scholarships, please refer to the Fellowships and Internship Placement web pages provided by the Schizophrenia and Autism Research Training Group.


Spokesperson for the IRTG is Prof. Dr. Dr. Frank Schneider, Director of the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics at University Hospital Aachen.


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