Dr. med. Franz X. Vollenweider
Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich
Tel. +41 44 384 2604
Fax +41 44 384 3396
Main Goals, Keywords
Behavioral pharmacology and brain imaging (PET) studies of pathophysiology and neurochemistry of model psychosis, schizophrenia, and depression. Functional neuroanatomy of sensory gating and mood processes in normals.
Keywords: PET, EEG/ERP, brain imaging, neuropsychology, psychopathology, behavioral pharmacology, PPI, model psychosis, schizophrenia, depression
1 senior researcher, 2 research assistant, 1 technician, 2 PhD students, and 3 MD students (thesis candidates)
Previous and Current Research
- Studies of functional neuroanatomy of sensorimotor gating (prepulse inhibition) in healthy normals, first break and chronic schizophrenics using [H215O]-PET (collaboration with the PET Center USZ).
- PET studies of serotonin-dopamine and glutamate-dopamine interactions in acute psychotic states induced by the NMDA antagonist ketamine or the 5-HT2 agonist psilocybin (collaboration with the PET Center PSI).
- Development of PET ligands for the serotonin and dopamine transporter and application to the study of neurochemical mechanisms of anxiety, depression and the assessment of potential serotonergic neurotoxicity in chronic MDMA users. Development of PET ligands for the 5-HT2 receptor (collaboration with Dept. of Radiopharmacy, PSI).
- Effects of serotonergic, dopaminergic and glutamatergic probes (psilocybin, ketamine, MDMA) on sensorimotor gating, attention and psychopathological measures and their blockade using selective neuroreceptor antagonists.
- Acute and long-term effects of MDMA on brain activity (PET), brain waves (EEG/EP), sensorimotor gating, and neuropsychological measures (selective attention, memory).
- Behavioral organization and information processing in schizophrenic and depressed patients using two choice guessing task and a prepulse inhibition paradigm (collaboration with Dept. of Psychiatry, UCSD, and Psychiatrische Klinik Königsfelden).
- Neuronal network modelling of sensorimotor gating processes using a real-world agent (collaboration with the Artificial Intelligence Lab, IFI, University of Zurich)
Studies into information processing mechanism in first break and chronic schizophrenic patients using PPI and PET co-registration (cooperation with PET Center USZ and Dept. of Psychiatry, UCSD). Studies into the long-term effects of atypical neuroleptics on cognitive deficits in schizophrenics using EEG/EP and PPI.
Techniques and Equipment
PET data analysis software, computerized neuropsychological testing systems, prepulse inhibition (PPI) registration techniques, PET-PPI co-registration, advanced EEG and ERP mapping techniques, electromagnetic 3D tomography (LORETA), PET-EEG co-registration.
- Holstein DH, Vollenweider FX, Geyer MA, Csomor PA, Belser N, Eich D. Sensory and sensorimotor gating in adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Psychiatry Res. 2013 Jan 30;205(1-2):117-26. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.08.013. Epub 2012 Sep 25.
- Schmidt A, Diaconescu AO, Kometer M, Friston KJ, Stephan KE, Vollenweider FX. Modeling Ketamine Effects on Synaptic Plasticity During the Mismatch Negativity. Cereb Cortex. 2012 Aug 8. [Epub ahead of print]
- Schmidt A, Kometer M, Bachmann R, Seifritz E, Vollenweider F. The
NMDA antagonist ketamine and the 5-HT agonist psilocybin produce
dissociable effects on structural encoding of emotional face
expressions. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013 Jan;225(1):227-39. doi: 10.1007/s00213-012-2811-0. Epub 2012 Jul 27.
- Kometer M, Schmidt A, Bachmann R, Studerus E, Seifritz E, Vollenweider FX. Psilocybin
biases facial recognition, goal-directed behavior, and mood state
toward positive relative to negative emotions through different
serotonergic subreceptors. Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Dec 1;72(11):898-906. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.04.005. Epub 2012 May 10.
Selected Lectures, Seminars, Colloquia
- Psychiatrisches Projektseminar
- Neurobiologie des Nervensystems
Swiss National Science Foundation, Heffter Institute, Janssen Research Foundation, Lundbeck Research Foundation, EMDO Stiftung Zürich, BAG Bern