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Research group Maier / Tebartz van Elst

Research group leader: Clinical group leader
Prof. Dr. L. Tebartz van Elst

Phone: +49 (0)761 270 - 65290
Email: ludger.tebartzvanelst@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Scientific group leader
Dr. rer. nat. Simon Maier

Phone: +49 (0)761 270-65530
Email: simon.maier@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Group members: Phone [+49 (0)761] Email
Katrin Nickel 65010 kathrin.nickel@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Magnus Fry 65010 magnus.fry@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Peter Goll 65010 peter.goll@uniklinik-freiburg.de
Leonie Merz 65010 leonie.merz@uniklinik-freiburg.de

Research focus

In recent years, studies from various research areas, including large-scale magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and genetic studies, have shown that neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism, but also schizophrenia, are not monolithic etiological entities but subsume many subforms with different causes and pathomechanisms. In recent years, the research focus has therefore shifted from the search for disorder-specific biomarkers to the identification of subgroups with similar etiological and neurobiological patterns, that are not necessarily linked to a single mental disorder. By identifying similar neurobiological subgroups, we hope to make progress in the search for biomarkers and new therapeutic approaches in the future. For this endeavor, our research group uses various MR-methods to identify subgroups of mental conditions based on structural, functional and metabolic signals. Our special focus is on neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and ADHD as well as inflammatory brain diseases.

All MR research projects are carried out in close cooperation with the Department of Medical Physics, the Freiburg Brain Imaging Center (FBI). In the field of inflammatory brain diseases we collaborate with the research group "immunological encephalopathies".

Research projects

  1. Frequency of cerebral energy-metabolic anomalies in autism spectrum disorder – a tool for subgroup definition?
  2. Simultaneous measurements of GABA and Glutamate in adult high-functioning ASD
  3. Structural DTI and GM analysis in adults with ADHD (part of the multicenter COMPAS-Studie)
  4. Dynamic contrast enhanced imaging of the blood-brain-barrier function
  5. Diffusion micro/meso-structure imaging in patients with and without blood-brain-barrier dysfunction
  6. Neurobiological substrates of fear conditioning and intimacy in anorexia nervosa
  7. Mapping of Excitatory and Inhibitory Neurometabolites in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (in cooperation with child and adolescent psychiatry)

Selected publications

  • Endres, D., Tebartz van Elst, L., Feige, B., Backenecker, S., Nickel, K., Bubl, A., … Perlov, E. (2016). On the Effect of Sex on Prefrontal and Cerebellar Neurometabolites in Healthy Adults: An MRS Study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10. doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2016.00367
  • Endres, D., Tebartz van Elst, L., Meyer, S. A., Feige, B., Nickel, K., Bubl, A., … Perlov, E. (2017). Glutathione metabolism in the prefrontal brain of adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder: an MRS study. Molecular Autism, 8, 10. doi.org/10.1186/s13229-017-0122-3
  • Maier, S., Spiegelberg, J., Jacob, G., van Zutphen, L., Zeeck, A., Hartmann, A., … Joos, A. (2018). Neural correlates of intimate picture stimuli in females. Psychiatry Research. Neuroimaging, 273, 9–15. doi.org/10.1016/j.pscychresns.2018.01.003
  • Maier, S., Perlov, E., Graf, E., Dieter, E., Sobanski, E., Rump, M., … Tebartz van Elst, L. (2016). Discrete Global but No Focal Gray Matter Volume Reductions in Unmedicated Adult Patients With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 80(12), 905–915. doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.05.012
  • Maier, S., & Tebartz van Elst, L. (in preparation). Increased GABA concentrations in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of adults with autism spectrum disorder.
  • Maier, S., Tebartz van Elst, L., Beier, D., Ebert, D., Fangmeier, T., Radtke, M., … Riedel, A. (2015). Increased hippocampal volumes in adults with high functioning autism spectrum disorder and an IQ>100: A manual morphometric study. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 234(1), 152–155. doi.org/10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.08.002
  • Maier, S. J., Szalkowski, A., Kamphausen, S., Feige, B., Perlov, E., Kalisch, R., … Tebartz van Elst, L. (2014). Altered cingulate and amygdala response towards threat and safe cues in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Psychological Medicine, 44(1), 85–98. doi.org/10.1017/S0033291713000469
  • Maier, S., Szalkowski, A., Kamphausen, S., Perlov, E., Feige, B., Blechert, J., … Tüscher, O. (2012). Clarifying the role of the rostral dmPFC/dACC in fear/anxiety: learning, appraisal or expression? PLoS ONE, 7(11), e50120. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0050120
  • Nickel, K., Tebartz van Elst, L., Domschke, K., Gläser, B., Stock, F., Endres, D., … Riedel, A. (2018). Case report: Heterozygous deletion of SCN2A and SCN3A in a patient with autism spectrum disorder and Tourette syndrome.
  • Nickel, K., Tebartz van Elst, L., Perlov, E., Endres, D., Müller, G. T., Riedel, A., … Maier, S. (2017). Altered white matter integrity in adults with autism spectrum disorder and an IQ >100: a diffusion tensor imaging study. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, n/a-n/a. doi.org/10.1111/acps.12731
  • Riedel, A., Maier, S., Ulbrich, M., Biscaldi, M., Ebert, D., Fangmeier, T., … Tebartz van Elst, L. (2014). No significant brain volume decreases or increases in adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder and above average intelligence: a voxel-based morphometric study. Psychiatry Research, 223(2), 67–74. doi.org/10.1016/j.pscychresns.2014.05.013
  • Tebartz van Elst, L., Maier, S., Klöppel, S., Graf, E., Killius, C., Rump, M., … Philipsen, A. (2016). The effect of methylphenidate intake on brain structure in adults with ADHD in a placebo-controlled randomized trial. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience: JPN, 41(6), 422–430. doi.org/10.1503/jpn.150320
  • Tebartz van Elst, L., Riedel, A., & Maier, S. (2016). Autism as a Disorder of Altered Global Functional and Structural Connectivity. Biological Psychiatry, 79(8), 626–627. doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.02.003
  • Tebartz van Elst, L., Maier, S., Fangmeier, T., Endres, D., Mueller, G. T., Nickel, K., … Perlov, E. (2014a). Disturbed cingulate glutamate metabolism in adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder: evidence in support of the excitatory/inhibitory imbalance hypothesis. Molecular Psychiatry, 19(12), 1314–1325. doi.org/10.1038/mp.2014.62
  • Tebartz van Elst, L., Maier, S., Fangmeier, T., Endres, D., Mueller, G. T., Nickel, K., … Perlov, E. (2014b). Magnetic resonance spectroscopy comparing adults with high functioning autism and above average IQ. Molecular Psychiatry, 19(12), 1251–1251. doi.org/10.1038/mp.2014.160
  • van Zutphen, L., Maier, S., Siep, N., Jacob, G. A., Tüscher, O., van Elst, L. T., … Joos, A. (2018). Intimate stimuli result in fronto-parietal activation changes in anorexia nervosa. Eating and Weight Disorders: EWD. doi.org/10.1007/s40519-017-0474-x