Forschungsschwerpunkt Translationale Neurowissenschaften Mainz

Kalisch lab

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Next to his duties as head of the NIC, Raffael Kalisch runs a research group investigating mechanisms of stress resilience. The group is partly attached to the NIC and partly to the Deutsches Resilienz Zentrum Mainz (DRZ). The the group coordinates the Mainz Resilience Project (MARP) and the new EU Horizon2020 project DynaMORE (Dynamic MOdelling of Resilience). Raffael Kalisch is also the spokesperson of the International Resilience Alliance (intresa) and deputy spokesperson of the DFG Collaborative Research Center CRC1193 “Neurobiology of Resilience”.

Please follow Raffael Kalisch and his lab members on ResearchGate.

Research overview: Resilience

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Resilience is the maintenance or quick recovery of mental health during and after severely stressful life stituations. Traditionally, psychiatric research has focused on mechanisms that make people vulnerable and lead to disease, and on ways of treating mental illness. Interestingly, however, many people do not or only temporarily become mentally ill despite significant burden from psychological or physical adversity. This suggests the existence of protective mechanisms that can prevent the development of stress-related conditions like anxiety, post-traumatic stress, depression or addiction. Our approach is to understand these resilience mechanisms and to harness them in the service of better disease prevention. This strategy can potentially much reduce individual suffering, dysfunction and economic and social costs.

More specifically, we investigate basal resilience mechanisms at the level of cognition and neural function. Our approach is characterized by a dynamic view on resilience that understands resilience as the outcome of a process of adaptation to stressors. For this reason, we conduct prospective longitudinal studies (MARP, LORA) in which changes in biological and psychological functions are monitored over time and put in relation to stressor exposure and mental health changes. We also conduct laboratory studies on the neural and cognitive bases of identified resilience mechanisms (esp. extinction and emotion regulation), using methods of experimental psychology, neuroimaging (MRI), neurostimulation (tDCS), pharmacology and psychophysiology.

We also conduct basic research on mechanisms of fear, anxiety and stress.

Key conceptual publications

  • Kalisch R*, Cramer AOJ*, Binder H, Fritz J, Leertouwer IJ, Lunansky G, Meyer B, Timmer J, Veer IM, van Harmelen A-L (2019) Deconstructing and reconstructing resilience: a dynamic network Approach. Persp Psych Sci, in press.
  • Kalisch R, Gerlicher AMV, Duvarci S (2019) A Dopaminergic Basis for Fear Extinction. Trends Cogn Sci 23:274-7.
  • Kalisch R, Baker DG, Basten U, Boks MP, Bonanno GA, Brummelman E, Chmitorz A, Fernàndez G, Fiebach CJ, Galatzer-Levy I, Geuze E, Groppa S, Helmreich I, Hendler T, Hermans EJ, Jovanovic T, Kubiak T, Lieb K, Lutz B, Müller MB, Murray RJ, Nievergelt CM, Reif A, Roelofs K, Rutten BPF, Sander D, Schick A, Tüscher O, Van Diest I, van Harmelen AL, Veer IM, Vermetten E, Vinkers CH, Wager TD, Walter H, Wessa M, Wibral M, Kleim B (2017) The resilience framework as a strategy to combat stress-related disorders. Nat Hum Behav 1:784-90.
  • Engen HG, Anderson MC (2018) Memory Control: A Fundamental Mechanism of Emotion Regulation. Trends Cogn Sci doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2018.07.015, epub ahead of print.
  • Kalisch R, Müller MB, Tüscher O (2015) A conceptual framework for the neurobiological study of resilience. Behav Brain Sci 27:1-79.

Some findings

  • Meyer B, Mann C, Götz M, Gerlicher A, Saase V, Yuen KSL, Aedo-Jury F, Gonzalez-Escamilla G, Stroh A, Kalisch R (2019) Increased Neural Activity in Mesostriatal Regions after Prefrontal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and l-DOPA Administration. J Neurosci 39:5326-35.
  • Salinas-Hernández XI, Vogel P, Betz S, Kalisch R, Sigurdsson T, Duvarci S (2018) Dopamine neurons drive fear extinction learning by signaling the omission of expected aversive Outcomes Elife7, pii: e38818. doi: 10.7554/eLife.38818.
  • Gerlicher A, Tüscher O, Kalisch R (2018) Making extinction last: dopamine-dependent prefrontal reactivations explain long-term benefit of fear extinction. Nat Commun 9:4294.
  • Meyer B, Yuen KSL, Saase V, Kalisch R (2018) The Functional Role of Large-scale Brain Network Coordination in Placebo-induced Anxiolysis. Cereb Cortex doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhy188, epub ahead of print.
  • Braem S, De Houwer J, Demanet J, Yuen KSL, Kalisch R*, Brass M* (2017) Pattern analyses reveal separate experience-based fear memories in the human right amygdala. J Neurosci 37:8116-30.
  • Meyer B, Yuen KS, Ertl M, Polomac N, Mulert C, Büchel C, Kalisch R (2015) Neural mechanisms of placebo anxiolysis. J Neurosci 35:7365-73.
  • Kalisch R, Gerlicher AM (2014) Making a mountain out of a molehill: on the role of the rostral dorsal anterior cingulate and dorsomedial prefrontal cortex in conscious threat appraisal, catastrophizing, and worrying. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 42:1-8.
  • Haaker J, Gaburro S, Sah A, Gartmann N, Lonsdorf TB, Meier K, Singewald N, Pape HC, Morellini F*, Kalisch R* (2013) Single dose of L-dopa makes extinction memories context-independent and prevents the return of fear. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110:E2428-36.
  • Etkin A, Egner T, Kalisch R (2011) Emotional processing in anterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortex. Trends Cogn Sci 15:85-93.
  • Raczka KA, Mechias ML, Gartmann N, Reif A, Deckert J, Pessiglione M, Kalisch R (2011) Empirical support for an involvement of the mesostriatal dopamine system in human fear extinction. Transl Psychiatry 1:e12.
  • Raczka KA, Gartmann N, Mechias ML, Reif A, Buchel C, Deckert J, Kalisch R (2010) A neuropeptide S receptor variant associated with overinterpretation of fear reactions: a potential neurogenetic basis for catastrophizing. Mol Psychiatry 15:1067-74. Corrigendum 17:468.
  • Kalisch R (2009) The functional neuroanatomy of reappraisal: time matters. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 33:1215-26.
  • Kalisch R, Korenfeld E, Stephan KE, Weiskopf N, Seymour B, Dolan RJ (2006) Context-dependent human extinction memory is mediated by a ventromedial prefrontal and hippocampal network. J Neurosci 26:9503-11.


06. Dezember 2018
Christmas Party
This years NIC Christmas Party will be on Thursday December 6th, starting at 4pm. Please write to if you intend to come....mehr
14. November 2018
NIC Meeting
Bianca Kollmann (Psychiatry) will present a new project called “Stress inoculation as possible mechanism for resilience” in the NIC Meeting on Wednesday November 14th at 12 in the seminar room in building 701....mehr
31. Oktober 2018
NIC meeting
Til Ole Bergmann (DRZ) will give a talk on “EEG-triggered TMS to study neuronal oscillations”. See you at 12 in the seminar room in building 701.  ...mehr