University Hospital of Frankfurt (GUF)
Klinikum der Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt Department of Psychiatry
Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy
60528 Frankfurt am Main
Goethe University Frankfurt is one of the leading Universities in Germany; the Medical Faculty was positioned among the 75 best Universities worldwide in the Shanghai Ranking Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy of 2012. The Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at the University Hospital of Frankfurt (Head: Prof. Dr. A. Reif) is uniquely and ideally suited to carry out translational research in psychiatry. Key research questions revolve around developmental psychiatry (in close collaboration with the Department for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Head: Prof. Dr. C.M. Freitag, and as evidenced by the recent foundation of the German Center for Developmental Psychiatry D-ZEP), precision medicine approaches in psychiatry including biomarker discovery (WP07), and translational psychiatry with focus on the pathophysiology of ADHD, bipolar disorder, and major depression. On the one hand, there is access to large patient samples, as the Department features >150 inpatient beds, room for 30 day-patients, and large outpatient facilities specialised for patients suffering from ADHD, substance use disorders and affective disorders. Beyond treatment as usual, there is an extensive and elaborate clinical research framework including early recognition of psychiatric disorders, cognitive remediation, long-term follow-up of patients including neuropsychological /-imaging examinations. ADHD patient enrolment and phenotyping, as planned in WP03, WP04, and WP05 is thus already implemented in the clinical core structure of the Department and well feasible, as evidence by a substantial track record in multicentre phenotyping studies (e.g. IMpACT, ConLiGen, Panic-Net). Furthermore, on-site expertise in clinical trials (e.g. LITHIUM, earlyCBT, BipoLife, SIMaMCI) ensures that the pilot trial conducted in WP06 will run smoothly. There is a routine for the biobanking of cognitive and fluid biomarkers including DNA and proteomic samples. The Department’s expertise in serving as a core biobank and genotyping center, necessary for WP02-06, is also evidenced by contribution to several networks on psychiatric genetics (PGC, MooDS) as well as participation in multi-site studies such as the recently funded BipoLife network and the EU-funded projects Aggressotype and MiND. On site, extensive psycho- and electrophysiology phenotyping methods are established and modern neuroimaging techniques including 3T MRI and MEG are readily available via the nearby Brain Imaging Center (BIC), which is co-lead by Prof. Dr. A. Reif. Hence, pharmacoMRI studies as foreseen in WP04 can readily be set up. On the other hand, the Department features a fully equipped laboratory focusing on molecular biology and animal behaviour. On site, biobanking equipment as well as high throughput genotyping and state-of-the-art molecular biology methods are available. An S2 safety level cell culture laboratory with state-of-the-art microscopy has been used to establish a method to re-program human fibroblasts to hiPSCs, which are then further differentiated into neurons. For preclinical experiments the Department features a laboratory (located at the University’s central animal housing facility) that is fully equipped for automatized behavioural assessment of mice. The facilities are run by an excellent staff of scientists with an interdisciplinary background, also including experts in bioinformatics as needed for big data analyses in WP04. Genetic manipulation of mice can either be applied by transgenic methods or by stereotaxic delivery of viral vectors (adeno-associated virus) as established on site.
Taken together, the Department features all pertinent methodological and logistical requirements, along with the necessary personal expertise, to examine the functional consequences of candidate molecule changes on the neurobiological and behavioural level in both mice and men.