This semester, our working group is again using an online questionnaire to survey the connection between personality traits and attitudes towards animal experiments. Prerequisites for participation are the age of majority and sufficient knowledge of German to understand the questions. We would be happy about a large participation. Studies
Happy to finally share our new translational review an withe matter alterations in depression. Lots of work together with Mate Abraham (his first first-author paper), Annakarina Mundorf, Nadja Freund and Katja Bordmann.
Hello Prof. Freund, today I would like to ask you a few questions about you and your laboratory.
Can you briefly tell us about your professional career?
I started my undergraduate studies in Biochemistry with the vision to later work in a pharmaceutical company developing new drugs to treat cancer. However, during my studies I just by chance attended a talk given by Onur Güntürkün and became very fascinated by the brain. That’s why I ended up doing my PhD thesis with him in Biopsychology. Towards the end of my PhD while I still held the fascination of the brain I remembered my early desire to do clinically oriented research. Therefore, pursuing my research career on psychiatric disorder seemed very logical. Fortunately, the fellowship by the Leopoldina allowed me to join the lab of Susan Andersen at McLean Hospital/Harvard medical school where I was able to work with several rat models for psychiatric disorders.
Which mentor influenced you the most during your professional career?
I am very grateful that I have several mentors who influenced me and who are still available for advice etc. I highly recommend every young scientist to find themselves a mentor (either in a formal setting or someone they informally meet e.g. for coffee). You will learn a lot and even realizing that sometimes your mentor’s way is not your way can be very helpful.
Why did you choose the branch of research in Psychiatric Disorders?
As mentioned before I was interested in brain research specifically in influences on the developing brain from early on and later wanted a more clinical focus.
Looking back, was that a good decision?
Yes, it was. I love what I do and think with all the obstacles and rejections for manuscripts and grant applications you get, you need some sort of passion for your work. If I had chosen a topic not based on my interest but on timeliness of on someone else’s advice, I would not have survived in academia.
What do you enjoy most about your job and what motivates you every day?
Interacting with students and co-workers and discussing research ideas with them. In addition, when I meet with patients I get motivated to advance our knowledge on psychiatric disorders to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options.
What professional achievements are you particularly proud of?
Two things come to my mind. The first one is the Jule-Angst-Award of the German Bipolar Foundation. I received it for my work to develop an animal model for Bipolar Disorder. As this work was inspirited by a friend of mine who suffers from Bipolar Disorder and is therefore a project quite close to my heard I was extremely proud to receive this prize.
The other one is that I am already ‘mother’ (as in German we call the MD/PhD supervisor Doktormutter) to 3 academic children and supervised several Master students. I am very proud that I could support several young people in starting their academic careers.
In the last two years we have been accompanied by the Covid-19 pandemic. How has the pandemic affected research and specifically your working group?
Very early at the pandemic we were not even allowed on campus and could only finish very critical experiments. But even later on, working in teams, home office and social distancing made lab life very hard. As mentioned above, I get motivated by interactions with other researchers and think that our work suffered from the loss of informal discussion and crazy research ideas over beer etc.
What are your goals for 2022?
I really hope that we can go back to more normality in 2022 and have in-person lab meetings and social gatherings. Securing some grant money would be an addition bonus😉 .
We are very pleased to welcome Kimberly Bösing and Malin Hedstück back to our laboratory. After completing their bachelor’s degree in our laboratory in 2021, we are pleased to also supervise their master’s theses. Malin and Kimberly are working with the poly I:C schizophrenia mouse model that is already established in our lab. Primarily, they will work with cell cultures. They are looking at the effects of poly I:C activated microglial cells on neural stem cells. Malin focuses on the neurospheres, whereas Kimberly focuses on the neurogenesis of the NSCs. Here’s to another great collaboration.
Jennifer Koch our technical manager is back from her parental leave. But this also means that we have to say goodbye to Florian Rehrmann. We thank him for his support and wish him all the best for his future. See more
Our Ph.D. student Patrick Reinhardt won the 3G Grant 2021 at Animal Research Tomorrow. His application has the title: “Improving operant rodent testing in an OpenScience Homecage environment”. The aim of the project is to establish a possibility of operant testing of mice and rats in a system connected to the homecage. We are very proud and congratulate on this success.
We are very pleased to welcome Kim Sommer as a new master’s student in our laboratory. Kim completed her bachelor thesis at the University of Duisburg/ Essen in October 2020 and is now working in our laboratory.
Kim will examine rat motivation in a bipolar model in which D1 overexpression can be turned on and off via a viral construct. This overexpression will be examined in the prefrontal cortex, as well as the orbitofrontal cortex, and additionally sex differences will be analyzed. Motivation will be monitored using a progressive ratio task in the mania-like phase and depression-like phase and D1 concentration will be examined by post-mortem tissue analysis. See more
The year ends with another success. Rebecca Overbeck completed her master’s thesis with the title “Neurobiological mechanisms in an animal model for bipolar disorder” We wish her all the best and a successful New Year.
Dominik Beyer defendet his Ph.D. with the title “Molekular mechanisms of mania- and depressive like behavior in animal models”. We congratulate him warmly and wish him all the best for the future.
On Tuesday, October 26th Annina successfully defended her MD thesis with the title “Impaired cognitive self-awareness mediates the association between alexithymia and excitation/inhibition balance in the pgACC”. Verry well done! We wish you all the best for your future!