Geriatric and Neuropsychiatry

In the research group of geriatric psychiatry and neuropsychiatry, we investigate neurodegenerative diseases and their underlying pathophysiological processes according to their clinical classification and neuropsychological test procedures. For this purpose, we use complementary innovative radiological and nuclear medical methods in cooperation with the Department of Nuclear Medicine of the University Hospital Augsburg and the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. The gained knowledge will be used to provide innovative therapeutic options to treat neurodegenerative syndromes. In the context of early detection of dementia, we conduct a differentiated classification of neurodegenerative syndromes to apply new treatment methods. Within our research projects, there is close cooperation with the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Department of Psychology and Sociology, the Department of Nuclear Medicine, and the Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology. Moreover, we collaborate with Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) Munich and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE).


Covid-19-acompanying Research

The COVID-19 pandemic poses enormous challenges to our society and healthcare system worldwide. What contribution can science make to master this crisis? Taking into the account the pandemic's diverse negative impacts, researchers examine different areas affected by the pandemic, including biomedical, social, economic, environmental, psychological, and clinical aspects.


Early detection and intervention

The onset of many mental illnesses is in adolescence or young adulthood. Especially in the early phase of the disease, structured diagnostics and patient-centered treatment are essential. But particularly young people struggle with integrating therapy into their daily lives (therapy adherence). In the working group of early detection and intervention, we develop new therapeutic strategies in an interdisciplinary team together with the patients. We investigate through which treatment approaches, therapy adherence and self-determination (empowerment) can be enhanced. A particular focus lies on the integration of digital health devices into clinical care. Diagnostically, we focus on affective and psychotic disorders in young adulthood. In the individual research projects, there is close cooperation with the Clinic for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, the Institute for Digital Medicine at the University of Augsburg, and the Clinics for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Universities of Düsseldorf and Munich.


Clinical trials

Clinical trials serve to test new therapies in healthcare practice and are used to gain knowledge about the development, approval or extension of the conditions of use of drugs. Since 2004, clinical trials in Germany have had to be approved by the relevant higher federal authority (BfArM or PEI, depending on the drug) and are thus thoroughly checked before initialization. Through this, patients' safety, as an important objective, can be guaranteed. In addition, clinical studies are reviewed and evaluated by an ethics committee to confirm a risk-benefit consideration of the research project by another independent institution. A special feature of the projects at our site are the so-called Investigator Initiated Trials (IIT) and the use of drug repurposing. Thus, findings from preclinical and clinical university research are further developed by researchers at our clinic so that already known drugs with a possible additional benefit for certain processes in mental illnesses can be opened up for further medical application areas. The studies are funded by e.g. the DFG, BMBF and the Stanley Foundation. The Study Center for Psychiatry provides the necessary infrastructure.

Many people take part in our clinical trials in order to test this additional benefit for themselves as well as to contribute to medical progress. For some of them, the motivation is thus to drive the treatment of all patients with similar diseases forward. Other ones may desire to improve their own health, for example, after having experienced an unsufficient treatment progress previously. This allows participants to get to know new treatment procedures even before their availability as routine treatments. A detailed explanation of the possible risks is indispensable for participation, enabling participants to consider the possible risks and benefits in making their decision.
Your participation is always voluntary and can be terminated at any time without any disadvantages for further treatment.

Cognitive and behavioral research

The term "cognition" refers to all thinking processes such as memory, executive functions, planning, attention, learning, problem solving, metacognition, self-awareness, creativity, and intuition. Cognition constantly interacts with our own affective functions (e.g., moods and emotions) and with environmental impressions and events. Together, these factors shape our daily individual experiences and our world of experience. Cognitive impairments are characteristic of numerous mental illnesses and worsen the well-being and quality of life of those affected. In our research group, we use various instruments and questionnaires - some of which we developed specifically for this purpose - to investigate cognitive deficits in people with different mental illnesses. Our purpose is to better understand the underlying mechanisms and thus develop possible interventions to diagnose and, if necessary, improve cognitive impairments. In addition, we investigate how cognitive processes in the social context could influence our behavior and how our perception and decision making could be biased by basic beliefs and prejudices. We are currently developing this for clinical applications in diagnosis and psychotherapy.


Sportspsychiatry and –psychotherapy

Structured physical training for people with mental illnesses is not yet an established and common practice in many institutions and also in everyday outpatient care. However, there are many indications that physical training or exercise therapy measures are recommended for patients with mental illnesses as a useful complement to inpatient and outpatient therapy as a supplementary treatment method.

Exercise has a positive effect on both, psychological symptoms (such as depressed mood or sleep disturbances) and physical symptoms (including endurance capacity and pain reduction). In addition, no side effects are usually to be expected, as they are more frequently observed with drug therapies. Depending on the type of sports, other positive effects can also set in: a sense of community is strengthened through common activities, and many activities are carried out in the fresh air. With sustained activity, the effect is usually very long-lasting.


Special Outpatient Clinic for Sports Psychiatry

The special outpatient clinic "Sports Psychiatry" of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the University of Augsburg is part of the nationwide network founded by the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology DGPPN with the department of sports psychiatry and psychotherapy. Through the special outpatient clinic, competitive athletes suffering from psychological burdens can present themselves and individual therapy concepts will be developed together.

You can find more information on our Homepage.

Stimulation procedures

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) belong to the so-called non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, which are based on indirect stimulation of the brain. Via various mechanisms, they can positively influence the networking of brain areas, the release of so-called neurotrophins (messenger substances, e.g. for brain regeneration) and the effectiveness of psychopharmacological procedures.

In rTMS, a magnetic field builds up in a coil applied to the head. This is not a constant magnetic field as used in magnetic resonance imaging, instead, only repetitive series of short magnetic pulses are emitted. These pulses pass through the surface of the head, reach the brain (hence "transcranial") and can thus activate the underlying nerve cells. In tDCS, a direct current source causes an indirect change in the resting membrane potential of superficial brain areas, which can lead to changes in the activity of predominantly superficial brain areas and downstream deeper brain structures. Finally, in ECT, an artificial epileptic seizure is induced under brief anesthesia by a short electronic impulse. This can trigger regeneration processes in the brain throughout several treatment sessions and reduce resistance to pharmacological therapy methods. The targeted application of these non-invasive brain stimulation procedures can lead to an improvement in depressive symptoms and psychotic symptoms, as well as in cognitive impairments. In people with negative symptoms of schizophrenia or persistent auditory hallucinations, a change in these symptoms to an individual extent can be achieved in some cases. In people with depressive disorders, therapy-resistant courses and alternatives to pharmacotherapy as well as procedures to enhance the effectiveness of psychotherapy can be offered.

Addiction and sexuality

Addictive disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses and are divided into substance-bound and non-component addictive disorders. In the case of substance-bound addictive disorders, distinctions are made between legal and illegal substances. Sexuality often plays a role in connection with substance consumption; therefore, our working group primarily deals with questions in these areas.


Health care research


About one in a hundred Germans suffers from schizophrenia once in their lifetime. This is one of the most serious mental illnesses and is accompanied by a life expectancy shortened by about 15 years compared to the non-infected population. In order to improve medical care in Germany, the Association of Scientific Medical Societies pushed forward and coordinated the development of guidelines for knowledge transfer as an instrument of evidence-based medicine. Numerous methodologically high-quality guidelines, despite being available, are often not sufficiently implemented in healthcare practice. Due to rapidly growing medical knowledge, the guidelines are no longer up-to-date at the time of publication.