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Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie

Research group Nissen

Sleep and Plasticity
Research group leader:Prof. Dr. Christoph Nissen
Phone: +49 (0)761 270 - 65010
Email: christoph.nissen@uniklinik-freiburg.de

Secretariat: Ingeborg Hügle
Phone: +49 (0)761 270 - 69880
Group members:

Lukas Frase, MD
Nina Landmann, PhD student
Marion Kuhn, PhD student
Jonathan G. Maier, PhD student
Sarah Maywald, MD student
Aliza Bredl, MD student
Maike Michel, MD student
Lukas Krone, MD student

Marion Kuhn erhält Nachwuchsförderpreis der DGSM 2016.

Research focus

Learning, memory and underlying neural plasticity are fundamental characteristics of animals and humans allowing for the adaptation of brain function and behavior in a changing environment. The aims of our research group are to 1.) further elucidate the impact of sleep on learning and neural plasticity, and 2.) to further test a neuroplasticity hypothesis of major depression positing that changes in synaptic plasticity might represent a final common pathway in the pathophysiology of the disorder. Findings from this research might help to better understand the function of sleep and provide novel insights into the pathomechanisms of depression.
Ultimately, the results might be informative for the development of new treatment strategies for patients with disrupted sleep and depression - two major health problems worldwide.

Selected peer-reviewed publications

  • Kuhn M, Wolf E, Maier JG, Mainberger F, Feige B, Schmid H, Bürklin J, Maywald S, Mall V, Jung NH, Reis J, Spiegelhalder K, Klöppel S, Sterr A, Riemann D, Normann C, Nissen C. Sleep recalibrates homeostatic and associative synaptic plasticity in the human cortex. Nat Commun, accepted for publication.
  • Frase L, Piosczyk H, Zittel S, Jahn F, Selhausen P, Krone L, Feige B, Mainberger F, Maier JG, Kuhn M, Klöppel S, Normann C, Sterr A, Spiegelhalder K, Riemann D, Nitsche MA, Nissen C. Modulation of Total Sleep Time by Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). Neuropsychopharmacol. 2016. doi: 10.1038/npp.2016.65. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Krone L, Frase L, Piosczyk H, Selhausen P, Zittel S, Jahn F, Kuhn M, Feige B, Mainberger F, Klöppel S, Riemann D, Spiegelhalder K, Baglioni C, Sterr A, Nissen C. Top-down control of arousal and sleep: Fundamentals and clinical implications. Sleep Med Rev. 2016 Jan 14. pii: S1087-0792(16)00002-2. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2015.12.005. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Wolf E, Kuhn M, Norman C, Mainberger F, Maier JG, Maywald S, Bredl A, Klöppel S, Biber K, van Calker D, Riemann D, Sterr A, Nissen C. Synaptic plasticity model of therapeutic sleep deprivation in major depression. Sleep Med Rev. 2015;30:53-62. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2015.11.003. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Kuhn M, Mainberger F, Feige B, Maier JG, Mall V, Jung NH, Reis J, Klöppel S, Normann C, Nissen C. State-dependent partial occlusion of cortical LTP-like plasticity in major depression. Neuropsychopharmacol. 2016; 41(6):1521-9. doi: 10.1038/npp.2015.310.
  • Landmann N, Kuhn M, Maier JG, Feige B, Spiegelhalder K, Riemann D, Nissen C. Sleep Strengthens but does Not Reorganize Memory Traces in a Verbal Creativity Task. SLEEP. 2016 Mar 1;39(3):705-13. doi: 10.5665/sleep.5556.
  • Nissen C, Kloepfer C, Feige B, Piosczyk H, Spiegelhalder K, Voderholzer U, Riemann D. Sleep-related memory consolidation in primary insomnia. J Sleep Res. 2011;20(2):129-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2869.2010.00872.x.
  • Nissen C, Holz J, Blechert J, Feige B, Riemann D, Voderholzer U, Normann C. Learning as a model for neural plasticity in major depression. Biol Psychiat. 2010;68(6):544-52. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.05.026


Past and ongoing funding includes support from the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Research Commission of the University of Freiburg Medical Center, and the American Sleep Research Society Foundation.

Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie

Hauptstraße 5
79104 Freiburg

Information: 0761 270-65010

Aktuelle Weiterbildung

"Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie – aktuell" PPA-Symposium am 21. September 2019