Team EPD

Completed Projects · Neuroscience

Team EPD

Early Intervention in Psychiatric Diseases

Neurodevelopmental disorders occur due to impairments of the brain development or a damage and affect learning ability, self-control, emotion and memory. A normal brain development involves proliferation and migration of the cells which occur mostly during prenatal life and arborization (circuit formation) and myelination taking place through the first two post-natal decades, which spans childhood and adolescence. Therefore, childhood and adolescence represent a critical developmental phase in the emergence of psychiatric diseases. Therapeutic pharmacological intervention during this period of change in brain structure and function could normalize brain maturation and improve the disease trajectory.

Schizophrenia as being a neurodevelopmental disorder, shows aberrations not only in structure, wiring and chemistry of multiple neuronal systems but also in myelination. And these changes happen long before clinical symptoms of the disease appear in early adult life. Accumulating evidence implicates that brains of schizophrenia patients and people having clinical high risk for developing schizophrenia show decreased white matter volume, suggesting a deficit in myelination.

Our group is interested in deciphering the causes of this so far untapped pathology occurring due to myelination deficits. Our aim is to develop in vitro and in vivo platforms to study oligodendrocyte development and myelination and utilize these platforms to identify extrinsic (neuronal) and intrinsic (oligodendrocytic) factors affecting myelination in schizophrenia.


  1. Martina von der Bey, Silvia De Cicco, Susanne Zach, Bastian Hengerer, Ebru Ercan-Herbst (2023): Three-dimensional co-culture platform of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte lineage cells and neurons for studying myelination
    STAR Protocols, 4 (2)
The research of this team is kindly sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.