VII. Japanese-German Neuroscience Research Network Focusing on Psychosis, Affective Disorders & Related Traits

Japanese-German NeuroscienceIt can be assumed that both genetic and environmental factors increase or decrease the risk of mental illness are somewhat population-specific. Such population differences may be largest between central European and East Asian populations. Well-orchestrated genetic studies performed in parallel in both Germany and Japan may help to identify both the factors shared across the two populations and those unique to either of them. To comprehensively describe pathogenetic mechanisms, genetic studies need to be complemented by other biological approaches, like epigenetics, imaging, and systems biology.

Given that mental illnesses such as psychoses (e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder) are among the top 10 leading causes of the global disease burden, any progress in the identification of risk and protective factors will make an important contribution to public health world-wide.

We propose a Japanese-German research network to plan and coordinate joint projects in psychosis research, comprising all aspects of modern neuroscience research. Such a network will also constitute an ideal framework for the exchange of young scientists.


  • Prof. Thomas G. Schulze, University of Göttingen (Chair)
  • Prof. Noriko Osumi, Tohoku University (Co-Chair)
  • Prof. Ryota Hashimoto, Osaka University
  • Dr. Stephanie H. Witt, Heidelberg University
  • Dr. Masanori Isobe, Kyoto University
  • Prof. Ulrich Ebner-Priemer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Prof. Marcella Rietschel , Heidelberg University
  • Prof. Toshiya Murai, Kyoto University
  • Prof. Masatoshi Takeda, Osaka University

Published Work
  • Ryota Hashimoto (Osaka) and Thomas G. Schulze (Göttingen), together with Todd Gould (Baltimore, MD, USA) will jointly edit a special issue of Neuroscience Research on Clinical, neurobiological, and genetic aspects of trajectories in mental illness. Several HeKKSaGOn collaborators will contribute papers to this special issue due to appear in 2014.

Conferences & Symposiums
  • 4th Presidential Conference HeKKSaGOn "Building venues for the creation of new knowledge and values", April 2015, Tohoku University, Sendai
  • June 27, 2013, HeKKSaGOn collaborators held a symposium at the XI. World Congress of Biological Psychiatry in Kyoto, Japan. The symposium, which was chaired by Thomas G. Schulze (Göttingen) and Masatoshi Takeda (Osaka), was entitled: Multidimensional approaches to the understanding of the biological basis of psychiatric disorders: Experiences from the Japanese-German HeKKSaGOn collaboration of universities. Speakers included Jun Myata (Kyoto), Noriko Osumi (Sendai), Stephanie H. Witt (Heidelberg & Mannheim), and Ryota Hashimoto (Osaka).