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Eindrücke aus der Arbeit der Arbeitsgruppe von Chadi Touma

Behavioural Neuroendocrinology

The focus of professor Touma’s research group is to generate and characterize clinically relevant animal models of inborn (trait) emotionality and stress reactivity in order to elucidate neurobiological, endocrine and molecular genetic mechanisms underlying affective disorders such as major depression. It is only with deep insight into these molecular mechanisms and behavioural alterations that novel treatment strategies and promising targets for therapeutic interventions can be developed in the future. 

Research topics

  • Molecular genetic and neuroendocrine bases of behaviour
  • Function and regulation of the stress hormone systems
  • Gene-environment interactions
  • Influence of metabolic changes on behavioural and neurobiological endophenotypes

Model systems

  • Laboratory mice
  • Mouse lines selectively bred for differences in HPA axis reactivity
  • Transgenic mouse models


  • Behavioural analysis in the home cage
  • Behavioural tests for emotionality and cognitive functions
  • Neuroendocrine paradigms (e.g. testing the reactivity and feedback regulation of the HPA axis)
  • Non-invasive monitoring of steroid hormone metabolites from faecal samples
  • Functional neuroanatomy and pharmacology

Selected publications

Meyer N, Kröger M, Thümmler J, Tietze L, Palme R, & Touma C (2020) Impact of three commonly used blood sampling techniques on the welfare of laboratory mice: Taking the animal's perspective. PLoS One 15(9):e0238895, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0238895. pdf

McIlwrick S, Rechenberg A, Matthes M, Burgstaller J, Schwarzbauer T, Chen A, & Touma C (2016) Genetic predisposition for high stress reactivity amplifies effects of early-life adversity. Psychoneuroendocrinology 70:85-97, doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.04.023. pdf

Heinzmann JM, Kloiber S, Ebling-Mattos G, Bielohuby M, Schmidt MV, Palme R, Holsboer F, Uhr M, Ising M, & Touma C (2014) Mice selected for extremes in stress reactivity reveal key endophenotypes of major depression: a translational approach. Psychoneuroendocrinology 49:229-243, doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.07.008. pdf

Further principal investigators

Dr. Oliver Ambrée