Modulation of stress and resilience


Dr. med. Anne-Kathrin Gellner


Mental and physical stressors are important pathogenetic factors for psychiatric diseases, such as depression or anxiety disorders. However, both animals and humans show individual susceptibility to stress (susceptibility vs. resilience). Deciphering the underlying mechanisms of individual stress effects is urgently needed for the development of preventive and curative therapeutic approaches.
We are an interdisciplinary research group characterising stress-related effects on cortical neuroplasticity and related behavioural changes, identifying resilience factors for these effects and investigating the modulation of these effects in translational preclinical models.

Our translational basic research is located at the interface of psychiatry and neurology. We use the expertise of both disciplines to gain insight into the pathophysiology of stress using state-of-the-art methods such as multimodal in-vivo imaging and a broad spectrum of behavioural tests. At the same time, we focus on the identification of multimodal stress and resilience biomarkers, which we hope to ultimately make useful for humans.


Current projects

  • Effects of chronic social stress on motor cortical plasticity in the context of stress sensitivity and resilience
  • Deciphering stress effects on motor cortical neuronal networks and glial function
  • Multi-level proteomic profiling in a chronic social stress model in mice - a quest for mechanisms and markers of stress effects on brain and body


Current funding

  • BONFOR funding for the establishment of junior research groups
  • BONFOR funding for the generation of data sets in Core Facilities



Aileen Sitter, doctor
Nikolaj Speth, MSc Pharmaceutical Science, PhD student



Dr. med. Anne-Kathrin Gellner

Clinic and Polyclinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
University Hospital Bonn AöR
Venusberg Campus 1
53127 Bonn


Collaboration partners

  • Professor Valentin Stein, Institute of Physiology 2, University of Bonn (current workplace of the group)
  • Professor Andreas Zimmer, Institute of Molecular Psychiatry, University of Bonn
  • Professor Eicke Latz, Institute of Innate Immunity, University of Bonn
  • Dr Bianca Habermann, Computational Biology Research Group, Institute of Developmental Biology, Aix-Marseille University, France


Current tenders

It is possible to work on projects for medical doctoral theses as part of the working group. Please send enquiries to the above mentioned e-mail address.