Areas of research at the LIR

Research at the Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research is focused on three areas:

The three work groups in the research area of “Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Resilience”, RG Lutz, RG Müller and RG Schweiger, investigate the hypothesis, particularly in animal models, that cellular processes and their underlying molecular mechanisms significantly contribute to resilience. They assume that resilience is a dynamic adaptation process that is influenced by genetic, epigenetic, biochemical/metabolic and neurophysiological processes, as well as by one’s environment and behavior. The phenomenon of individual variability in response to social and physical stress is central to research with animal models.

The four work groups in the research area of “Systemic Mechanisms of Resilience,” RG Bergmann, RG Kalisch, RG Stroh and RG Tüscher, investigate systemic resilience mechanisms, in particular neural network activities and neurocognitive processes. The research is conducted both in animal models and on healthy subjects. The objective is to identify and validate potential systemic mechanisms of resilience in order to translate them into neurobiological-based resilience-promoting measures for people - neurostimulation processes, for example. These can then be continued and validated in the research area of “Cognitive and Behavioral Mechanisms of Resilience.” To identify and validate resilience mechanisms, prospective long-term studies on subjects are also involved, where necessary. In particular, the long-term studies "Mainz Resilience Project" (MARP) and "Longitudinal Assessment of Resilience" (LORA) should be mentioned here.

The three work groups in the research area of “Cognitive and Behavioral Mechanisms of Resilience”, RG Lieb, RG Rigotti, and RG Wessa, develop neurocognitive and behavioral measures to promote resilience, based on the understanding of resilience mechanisms that are identified and validated in the other two research areas of the LIR, among others. Possible methods include neurostimulation, neurofeedback, smartphone applications and online and computer-based tools, as well as pharmacological interventions. To evaluate the efficacy of the training and interventions, open label and randomized controlled studies are conducted with the support of the Clinical Investigation Center (CIC) platform. Over the long term, these newly developed strategies flow into science-based services to make them accessible to society. The research area of “Cognitive and Behavioral Mechanisms of Resilience” additionally includes the analysis of resilience mechanisms in professional and private life contexts. This is achieved through field studies, the creation of systematic reviews and meta-analyses on the importance of resilience factors and the efficacy of resilience interventions, as well as dealing with ethical questions and critiques of methodology on the topic of resilience.

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