Goethe University FrankfurtUniversitäts Klinikum Frankfurt, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
Goethe University (GU) Frankfurt is one of the leading Universities in Germany, and its Medical Faculty is among the 51-71 best Universities worldwide according to the Shanghai Ranking. The department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy (CAPPP; headed by Prof. Dr. CM Freitag) provides clinical services within the wider geographic area around Frankfurt/Main with a population of roughly 1 million inhabitants. The department has 4 inpatient wards, 3 day-clinics, and also runs a large outpatient clinic supporting more than 2,000 patients per year. Notably, the department also hosts the Autism Research and Intervention Centre of Excellence where individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (~150 a year) are diagnosed and treated according to current gold-standards of evidence-based medicine. In addition to providing clinical services, CAPPP also includes (i) a molecular genetics laboratory investigating on the genetic and cellular basis of neurodevelopmental disorders (headed by Dr. AG Chiocchetti), (ii) a neuroimaging research group focusing on brain anatomy and neurodevelopment in ASD (headed by Prof. Dr. C Ecker), (iii) an electrophysiology lab conducting functional investigations of the brain in vivo using techniques such as EEG, evoked potentials and brain stimulation techniques (headed by Prof. Dr. C.M. Freitag), as well as (iv) a large clinical research unit performing diagnostic and Phase-IIa / Phase-III clinical trials (headed by Prof. Dr. CM Freitag). The department is also actively involved in several other ongoing European research collaborations that include CoCA (Comorbidity in ADHD; https://coca-project.eu; WP6 lead Prof. Freitag), the STIPED consortium (‘Transcranial brain stimulation as innovative therapy for chronic paediatric neuropsychiatric disorders’; www.stiped.eu; WP5-lead Prof. Freitag, WP6-lead Prof. Ecker), and the MiND Project (training network on ADHD and ASD; https://www.mind-project.eu/). In addition, both, Profs. Freitag and Ecker currently receive grants related to ASD by the German Research Association DFG. The department of CAPPP at GU Frankfurt thus provides an excellent clinical infrastructure to conduct multi-disciplinary research into child and adolescent mental health conditions, and ASD in particular.
Role in AIMS-2-TRIALS
Prof Freitag will represent GU Frankfurt as Principle Investigator (PI) within the Data Analysis project, where she is responsible for data collection and analysis of genetic data. In addition, her department is part of the clinical network of study centres planned to be involved in randomised controlled trials.
Prof Ecker will represent the GU Frankfurt as PI within the Data Analysis project, where she will lead the structural MRI working group, which will be responsible for pre-processing, quality assessments, and analysis of the sMRI data. In addition to conducting her own research (sex-differences in the ASD brain, feature development, sMRI biomarkers) via the supervision of staff on the doctoral and postdoctoral level, she will also coordinate projects utilising sMRI data within the wider consortium.
Dr Chiocchetti is coordinating the local tasks at the GU within the data analysis project specifically in providing and evaluating genetic analyses, algorithms and integrative system biological approaches to the central database.
Dr Bast will represent the GU Frankfurt on the communication and dissemination subcommittee, which forms part of the Communication project. He is further involved in research projects related to eye-tracking data of the preceding project EU-AIMS LEAP, which will continue as part of the Longitudinal European Autism Project (LEAP).