I’m a psychologist pursuing the goal of getting objective tests to the psychiatric clinic. Clinical psychiatry and psychology still have to rely on questionnaires and interviews as the primary tools for diagnoses, whereas neuroscience is imaging the brain and examining objective readouts such as heart rate, eye gaze and pupil dilation. As a consequence, there is little cross-talk between these two fields; clinical intervention studies and neuroscience studies develop along parallel lines. In translational psychiatry, the goal is to connect these two fields again, such that clinical intervention studies can start using translational biomarkers that inform neuroscience and vice versa. For instance, knowing that the pupil dilation, heart rate variability or electroencephalograpy (EEG) activity changes over time with a given treatment, will inform research questions on the pathophysiology of these changes and readout in neuroscientific research in humans and animals, which will further improve these measurements and treatments in patients. The main research focus is on affective processes and biomarkers, i.e. capturing responses related to affect and emotion.
I have done research in Holland and England before coming to Munich, moving from clinical outcome research to functional neuroimaging and psychophysiology.