RWTH Aachen University

Research groups affiliated to EURON:

  • Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences, Institute of Biology
  • Faculty of Medicine
  • JARA Brain, Forschungszentrum Jülich.


List of research groups / themes:

Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences, Institute of Biology

Institute Biology II, Zoology & Animal Physiology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Computer Sciences 
At the Institute of Biology II (Zoology) research is centered on biological and biomedical problems in diverse fields, including neuroscience, reproductive physiology, infectious disease biology, developmental biology, and epigenetics. The different principle investigators and their groups employ both experimental and theoretical / computational approaches. The analytical scale ranges from the molecular and cellular to the systems and behavioral levels.

  • Chemosensory Research Group
    Team leader: Markus Spehr
    Research lines: mechanisms of pheromone signaling on the molecular, cellular and physiological levels, mammalian sperm chemotaxis
  • Molecular and Systemic Neurophysiology Group 
    Team leader: Prof. Dr. Björn Michael Kampa
    Research lines: decision making in animals navigating in virtual reality, optophysiological dissection of neural circuits of behavior, technical development in two-photon imaging and optogenetics
  • Neuromodulation Group
    Team leader: Markus Rothermel
    Our lab investigates top-down modulations using the olfactory system (sense of smell) as a model. In the olfactory system top-down inputs to the earliest stage of information processing, the olfactory bulb, seem to be particular important as they even outnumber direct synaptic sensory inputs.
  • Functional Epigenetics Group
    Team leader: Prof. Dr. Geraldine Zimmer-Bensch
    Research lines: Role of DNA methylation in synaptic transmission, cortical GABAergic system, neurodegeneration, IncRNAs in targeting DNA methylation
  • Motor System Neuroscience Group 
    This is a joint group of the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences
    Team leader: Prof. Dr. Till Marquardt
    Research lines: development, physiology and pathology of motoneurons, movement control.


The following groups are affiliated with the Institute of Biology II and are located at the Forschungszentrum Jülich:


Faculty of Medicine:
Department of Neuroanatomy (Prof. Dr. Cordian Beyer)

Department of Neurology (Prof. Dr. Jörg Schulz)

Department of Neuropathology (Prof. Dr. Joachim Weis)
The department of Neuropathology is focused on diagnosis and research of diseases of the nervous system and skeletal muscles. The material removed during neurosurgical operations is examined, especially brain tumors, as well as nerve, muscle and skin biopsies, cerebrospinal fluid and autopsy tissue, and animal and cell culture models of neurological diseases. Histological, immunohistochemical, electron microscopic, biochemical, cell biological and molecular genetic methods are applied. Degenerative diseases of the peripheral and central nervous system and musculature as well as neuroregeneration are the main research areas. The department is particularly specialized in neuropathological diagnostics and research of diseases of the peripheral nervous system and musculature. The pathophysiological focus is on the role of endoplasmic reticulum pathology and of disturbed proteostasis and autophagy in hereditary neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disorders.

Department of Nuclear Medicine (Prof. Dr. Felix Mottaghy)
The Department of Nuclear Medicine provides the complete range of expertise in nuclear medicine. The past years the neuroscientific focus was on the pre- and postsynaptic dopaminergic system. The clinic has developed cooperations with the department of psychiatry and the Maastricht UMC in this regard. The working group of Prof. Dr. Langen is a branch of the clinic at the research center Jülich and is engaged in the preclinical and clinical evaluation of new radiopharmaceuticals for the diagnosis of brain tumors. The work focuses on the evaluation of intratumoral accumulation of radioactively labelled amino acids in brain tumors, therapy planning and therapy control in patients with brain tumors. In the field of clinical and preclinical research, the Department of Nuclear Medicine is an active partner of the Helmholtz Institute for Biomedical Engineering, the DWI-Leibnitz-Institute for Interactive Materials e.V. and the Research Center Jülich as well as euregionally of the Universities of Maastricht and Leuven. Next to the neuroscientific research focus the preclinical research focuses on the development of new tracers for diagnosis and therapy of oncologic diseases, utilizing a complete radiochemistry, molecular biology as well as a small animal imaging lab.

Department of Physiology (Head: Prof. Dr. Stefan Gründer)
The Department of Physiology is responsible for teaching and research in physiology. They teach students of human medicine, dentistry, the master's program "Biomedical Engineering" and the natural and engineering sciences in the subject of physiology. There are currently three research groups at the institute, which have their research focus on molecular physiology (AG Gründer), cellular physiology (AG Lückhoff) and neurophysiology (AG Lampert).

Department of Psychiatry (Prof. Dr. Irene Neuner)
The Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics is home to psychologists, psychiatrists, computer scientists, physicists and PhD students from other fields that use brain imaging techniques (MRI, fMRI, PET, MEG, Brain Mapping) to learn more about the neurobiological mechanisms of pathological aggression and impulsiveness and the influence of several factors such as gender, environment and personality. The Department works closely with Forschungszentrum Jülich. Within the framework of the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA), JARA-BRAIN  is one of six divisions. Further, the department provides all heads of department (Habel, Diesmann) for the „JARA-BRAIN Institute: Structure Function Relationship“. The aim is to harness technical and methodological expertise and apply basic and clinical research to identify new strategies for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders of the brain.


List of research groups / themes:
Institute of Neuropathology

  • Neurodegeneration and neuromuscular pathology
  • Alterations of proteostasis and autophagy
  • CNS and PNS nerve regeneration

Department of Nuclear Medicine

  • Circulation and metabolism of the CNS, neurotransmitter receptors and transporters (especially dopamine)
  • Molecular imaging using PET and PET-CT
  • Selective Internal Radiotherapy (SIRT)
  • peptide receptor radiotherapy (PRRT)
  • 177Lutetium prostate specific membrane antigen radioligand therapy (177Lu-PSMA-RLT)
  • Preclinical imaging
  • Radiolabeled nucleoside analogues in tumor therapy
  • New therapy approaches in breast cancer

Department of Physiology
Research topics and working groups:

Research group Gründer:

  • Ion channels of the DEG/ENaC gene family
  • Ion channels in brain tumors

Research group Lampert:

  • Molecular basis of peripheral pain development
  • Voltage-gated Na+ channels

Research group Lückhoff:

  • Regulation mechanisms and molecular structures of cation channels

Department of Psychiatry
Research topics and working groups:

  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Experimental Neuropsychiatry
  • Experimental Psychopathology
  • Experimental Behavior Psychobiology
  • Functionality of Cortical Circuits
  • Multimodal Neuroimaging
  • Social and Affective Neuroscience
  • Structure of Cortical Functional Units
  • Translational Brain Medicine in Psychiatry and Neurology