Congratulations Dr. Widmann!

On Tuesday, OIMG_7652ctober 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!

The junior scientists

baby-shoes-1514007_1920Not only professionally but also in our private life fantastic things happened.
Prof. Dr. Nadja Freund pioneered in July 2019 and gave birth to little Keno. In October 2020 Dominik Beyer followed her in becoming parent when his son Florentin was born. Just four months later, in February 2021, Prof. Dr. Martina Mann’s became grandmother to little Linnea. In March 2021, Emma Maria was born, making Jennifer Koch a proud mum.
Last but not least, in May 2021 David became father to little Sophie. We wish the parents all the best. The next generation of young scientists is assured.


Covid-19 Update 2021

Covid-19 will be with us for this year and maybe beyond. Our laboratory is trying to make the best out of the situation. We continue organizing research and teaching our students as best as we can. On-site work at our laboratories continues follwing Corona specific rules like self-testing, distance, masks etc. continues as well as online meetings and remote office. 2020 taught us we can work together as a team in tough situations. We took our place in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Members of the work group supported the LWL- University clinic in giving vaccines to employees. Future outlook is positively (at least rather negatively). We hope everything will be fine soon. Stay safe- stay healthy.

Successful establishment of our animal model for bipolar disorder in Bochum

brainIn our new published study Prefrontal dopamine D1 receptor manipulation influences anxiety behavior and induces neuroinflammation within the hippocampus Dominik, Nadja and Annika investigated the effects of dopamine D1 receptor (D1R) over-expression and its termination on anxiety and the inflammatory state within the hippocampus. Interestingly, termination of D1R over-expression resulted in increased anxiety and inflammation. In addition, anxiety as well as inflammatory state correlated positively.

Find out more about the study here (link:

Welcome back

WhatsApp Image 2021-05-25 at 11.30.50We are very pleased to welcome Florian Rehrmann and Kirsten Schmerder back to our group. After Florian successfully completed his master’s thesis in our laboratory in 2020, he is now back as replace for Jennifer Koch during her maternity leave. We couldn’t ask for a better one for these tasks, as Florian got to know the laboratory and the processes very well during his master’s thesis.
Kirsten also successfully completed her master’s thesis with us in 2020 and is now returning to our work group as a doctoral candidate. During her PhD, she will continue her research and hopefully deepen our knowledge about neurobiological processes during depressive and manic episodes in bipolar disorder models. She will implement optogenetic approaches to be able to interfere with the dopaminergic system during behavioral assessment.
We are looking forward working together (again).


Goodbye Anna and Jennifer

This year we will have to say goodbye to Anna Mundorf, (transiently) to Jennifer Koch.
Anna successfully defended her Ph.D. in October 2020 and from March 2021 on, she will take up a position as a research assistant at the Medical School Hamburg (MSH).We wish you all the best and good luck in your future life.
Anna’s further professional career at MSH can be followed at this link:

Jennifer is our technical manager and is on maternity leave and will be on parental leave for one year. We will miss her, but we wish her all the best and a great time getting to know her baby.

Practical course in our group

WhatsApp Image 2020-12-04 at 11.54.51From 11/16/20 to 11/27/20 the practical course “Neurobiological visualization of social interaction in mice” took place in our group.
During this time, two students were able to conduct behavioral tests and record ultrasonic vocalizations under supervision. They also got an insight into the corresponding evaluation software. Tissue samples were taken from the animals and sections made with the cryostat. Immunohistological staining was carried out with subsequent photo documentation at the microscope.
This all-around insight into animal research will be given to two more trainees on December 7th, 2020.

Welcome Sevim

IMG-20201113-WA0007We were also able welcome a new doctoral student to our group in November.
Sevim came from Turkey and is working on her PhD with us for one year and in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Onur Güntürkün (Department of Biopsychology). Her focus is on the effects of prenatal stress on functional cerebral asymmetries and their underlying molecular background. She will be investigating rats by using comprehensive methods including several behavioural tests and genetic analyses.
If you want to learn more about Sevim, click HERE.

Welcome and good luck with your experiments.

WhatsApp Image 2020-11-18 at 08.29.05

Welcome in our lab

We welcome three new Master’s students to our group.
Karina, Selina and Patrick  are now supporting our team.

Karina’s master thesis focuses on the effects of maternal immune activation (MIA) on the neurodevelopment in the offspring. Specifically, she will investigate the role of MIA in developing neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia.

Selinas master thesis investigates the neurobiological consequences of early life stress in a rat model following maternal separation.

Patricks is interested if overexpression of the Dopamin D1-Receptor (D1R) in the medial prefrontal cortex can induce hedonic behavior. Therefore, rats get injected with D1R mRNA or a control mRNA and different behavioral tests are performed to assess various aspects of hedonic behavior. Afterward, brain tissue is analyzed to verify an expression of the mRNA and further resulting molecular changes.

Welcome, and we are looking forward to working with you!



PHOTO-2020-10-08-17-27-31PHOTO-2020-10-08-16-36-40Last week Annakrina very successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis on early life stress and epigenetic mechanisms. She was able to include 12 manuscripts in her thesis. The committee was very impressed by her work.  Congratulations, Dr. Mundorf!