Four Max Planck Institute scientists receive EU grant funding

December 04, 2013

Diseases of the brain or nervous system are estimated to lead to worldwide costs of several hundred billion Euro every year. To foster transnational neuroscience research in Europe, the European Commission makes funding available through the ERA-Net NEURON Program. This year, four scientists of the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry (MPIP) successfully applied for support and will receive a portion of the 10 million Euro funding.

Elisabeth Binder, PhD; Alon Chen, PhD; Chris Turck, PhD; Angelika Erhardt-Lehmann, MD (starting left)

MPIP scientists Alon Chen, PhD, Chris Turck, PhD, Angelika Erhardt-Lehmann, MD and their colleague Iiris Hovatta, PhD from the University of Helsinki will receive financial support for their collaborative project, entitled: „Novel molecular pathways and biomarkers of anxiety disorders“. The project‘s aim is to reveal biological pathways involved in the regulation of anxiety by examining alterations in the genome and proteome.

„In an interdisciplinary approach, we will use both mouse models and clinical specimens in order to identify novel central pathways that are involved in the etiology and pathophysiology of anxiety disorders,“ explains Alon Chen, PhD, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry.

„Currently used drugs to treat anxiety disorders unfortunately only help a subset of patients and are associated with side effects,“ says Chris Turck, research group leader at the MPIP. To develop improved therapies in the future, a detailed understanding of the biological pathways underlying anxiety pathology is needed.

MPIP scientists are also involved in an additional ERA-Net NEURON funded project, entitled: „Biological mechanisms of transgenerational transmission of early life stress“. Elisabeth Binder, MD, PhD, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry will work together with scientists from Canada, Finland, Germany and the USA on an epigenetic research project to uncover the biological mechanisms of how childhood trauma is inherited across generations.

ERA-NET projects are funded by the European Commission in various research fields. The goal is to create a European Research Area in which research is conducted and funded across countries. Currently, 21 granting institutions from 16 European countries, Israel and Canada participate and support selected high quality research in the fields of neuroscience and brain diseases. Neuronal diseases cause one third of the overall health care costs, according to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in Germany.


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