Skip to Main Content

Robert Nitsch

Visiting Research Scientist

Research Summary

Synaptic signaling, role of bioactive lipids in cortical networks and psychiatric disease; Mechanisms underlying hippocampal and cortical network stability; Mechanisms of axon outgrowth and regeneration, Role of the neurosciences in the “mind-body” problem discussion; Epistemology of the neurosciences

Extensive Research Description

The Institute of Translational Neuroscience is an independent research institution at the Medical Faculty of the Westfälische Wilhelms-University Münster embedded in the Department of Mental Health at the Münster University Medical Center (UKM, Director: Prof. Dr. med. Bernhard Baune). It is dedicated to provide new options for diagnostic and/or therapeutic strategies for human diseases of the nervous system. This “bench to bedside” approach builds on molecular research pursued during the last 30 years which paved the avenue for novel therapeutic strategies to be assessed in man. It follows the idea that neuroscience is a discipline providing understanding of human disease and eventually its cure, rather than to explain man itself. Translation defines the goal of basic research, the patient. While experimental studies are pursued in close collaboration with the Institute of Anatomy, University of Cologne (Director: Prof. Dr. med. Johannes Vogt), clinical studies are performed in close collaboration with the Institute of Translational Psychiatry, WWU Münster (Director: Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil. Udo Dannlowski).

In addition to translational research, philosophical aspects of the mind-body debate are addressed and a focus of the Institute’s teaching activities. The ever-recurring attempts of the neurosciences to explain all mental phenomena in physical terms alone are revised by critical reappraisal of classical concepts, e.g. Wilder Penfield’s “storehouse of memories”. Our analyzes question the idea of a realization of memory in solely naturalistic terms. These studies are performed in part at the Montreal Neurological Institute (Prof. Dr. Richard Leblanc, Prof. Dr. Jack Antel), Quebec, Canada, and in close collaboration with Prof. Dr. med. Frank Stahnisch at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Research Interests

Anatomy; Mental Disorders; Humanities; Nervous System; Nervous System Diseases; Philosophy; Polycyclic Compounds; Psychiatry and Psychology