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Seitlicher Blick auf eine Gruppe Ärzte und Ärztinnen in weißen Kitteln, die einem Vortrag zuhören. Die Köpfe sind unscharf aufgenommen.

Affective Neurosciences

Understanding emotions and treating depression.

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We work at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, and have our research base at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Freie Universität Berlin.

Our main interest is the investigation of human emotions. We try to better understand the influence of emotions on well-being and memory function and their modulation by electromagnetic fields, direct current stimulation or pharmacological interventions. The higher-ranking goal is the translation of new findings into clinical practice. Therefore, we study the efficacy of new interventions in the treatment of depression and other stress-related disorders.

Our second focus is to better understand the consequences of forced migration on mental health. Here, at the interface of academic medicine and foreign aid, we try to develop and establish new treatment programs that are both culture sensitive and easily accessible.

We have obligated ourselves to a broad, interdisciplinary work in due consideration of clinical, cultural and neuroscientifical perspectives.

Affective Neuroscience Unit

In our clinic, more than 2000 patients with affective disorders are treated per year. Patients can register for one of our special consultations and get more information on treatment options with non-invasive brain stimulation.

Selected Projects

The most important goal of our group is to improve treatment options for patients with depression or other stress-related disorders by developing and establishing new treatment strategies.

PsychotherapiePlus (BMBF)

In this multicenter trial, we investigate whether the effect of group cognitive behavioral therapy can be augmented by the use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in adult patients with major depression. The study is randomized, placebo controlled and double blind. Participating study sites are Munich, Leipzig, Tübingen, Freiburg and Mannheim.“

DepressionDC (BMBF)

This project (contact: Felizitas Ehlen) is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The aim of this clinical trial is to investigate the efficacy of a combined therapy of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and antidepressant medication. It is a multicenter trial managed by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, further study centers include Freiburg and Tübingen. The project is part of the German Center for Brain Stimulation, which, in turn, belongs to the German “Forschungsnetz für Psychische Erkrankungen”.


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a potent and rapidly acting treatment for treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (MDD). This study aims to investigate neurobiological mechanisms underlying  the therapeutic effects of ECT and thereby shed some more light on the pathophysiological causes of MDD and the mechanisms of action of an effective treatment.


DESCOCO (DFG, Berlin University Alliance)

Depression and Cohesion in COVID19 pandemic times (DESCOCO)“

Main research question of the DESCOCO study is whether the threat of and interventions against the current COVID-19 pandemic will lead to increased level of emotional distress and changes in parameters of social cohesion in vulnerable populations. To address this research question, the DESCOCO project aims at investigating depression and social cohesion related parameter in three preexisting cohorts with patients with affective disorders and individuals with autism spectrum conditions.

Augmenting Attention

Augmenting Attention (DFG, Berlin University Alliance, BerlinOxford Alliance)

Ziel des PRojektes, welches in Kooperation mit dem Institute for Experimental Psychologie an der Universität Oxford durchgeführt wird, ist die Untersuchung der Wirkung der nicht-invasiven Hirnstimulation auf Aufmerksamkeitsprozesse (Kooperation Eike Ahlers und Prof Roi Cohen-Kadosh)


This project (contact: Simone Grimm) is funded by the European Union and aims at developing a clinical decision support system to improve personalized treatment of psychiatric disorders. Therefore, a battery of techniques from neuroimaging and bioinformatics are combined to identify recurrent patterns associated with a response to treatment. Please visit the project site  for further Information.


Projekts of the Global Mental Health Unit:


Head of Research

Prof. Dr. med. Malek Bajbouj

Managing Senior Physician and Head, Center for Affective Neuroscience


You may contact us as follows:
t: +49 30 450 517 542
f: +49 30 450 517 942

Postal adress:

Research Group
Affective Neuroscience/
Emotion Modulation
c/o Prof. Dr. med.
Malek Bajbouj

Psychiatry CBF Charité
Hindenburgdamm 30
12203 Berlin

Campus Freie Universität Berlin: Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14197 Berlin