Expert in psychiatric illnesses appointed to the University Medical Center Magdeburg

01.02.2024 -  

From Iowa to Magdeburg: Prof. Dr. Thomas Nickl-Jockschat has accepted an appointment to the Faculty of Medicine at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg to take up the Chair of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy on February 1, 2024. The 46-year-old is thus also taking over the management of the University Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. He previously worked at the University of Iowa in the USA and at RWTH Aachen University. His focus is on researching genetic roots and environmental factors that have an influence on mental disorders such as schizophrenia or autism spectrum disorders.

Nickl-Jockschat emphasizes: "Psychiatric disorders are not only often very stressful for those affected, but can also serve as a model for disorders of complex human behaviour.They are often associated with changes in brain networks in the affected patients." His translational research focuses on identifying these changes in neuronal networks and their molecular basis and transferring the findings into practice.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Nickl-Jockschat_Melitta Schubert

Photo: Prof. Dr. Thomas Nickl-Jockschat will take over the Chair of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Magdeburg on February 1, 2024.
Photographer: Melitta Schubert/University Medicine

He is particularly interested in how so-called polygenic risks lead to manifest disorders. To this end, he combines state-of-the-art methods, from imaging and genetic analyses to animal models. The aim of this research approach is to gain a better understanding of healthy brain organization and brain changes in mental disorders. "In the long term, this will not only contribute to improved diagnostics and a more accurate prognosis of disease progression, but also to new therapeutic approaches, especially for clinical pictures with previously limited treatment options," says Nickl-Jockschat.

His collaboration with renowned institutes and researchers worldwide, including the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the University of Pennsylvania, testifies to his networking in the international research community. In his clinical work in Iowa, he has also gained extensive treatment experience in various interventions such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), deep brain stimulation, (es-)ketamine treatment and vagus nerve stimulation.According to Nickl-Jockschat, these therapeutic approaches benefit severely ill patients, particularly those with affective disorders such as depression.

The specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy explains: "International cooperation opens up new perspectives and accelerates progress.My experiences in the USA have broadened my horizons and I am looking forward to bringing this knowledge to Magdeburg. "According to Nickl-Jockschat, Magdeburg offers ideal conditions for innovative research: "The newly established German Center for Mental Health and the Center for Intervention and Research on adaptive and maladaptive brain Circuits in Mental Health (CIRC)are on their way to becoming leading institutions. I see a unique opportunity here to integrate my research areas and further develop them as an interface between genetics, neural systems and behavior."

Teaching is just as important to Nickl-Jockschat: "Imparting my knowledge is just as important as research and patient care itself.I'm looking forward to working not only in the laboratory and clinic, but also in the lecture hall and teaching future doctors, scientists and trainees in the healthcare professions in this fascinating discipline and promoting interdisciplinarity at an early stage," emphasizes the specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy.

About the person

Prof. Dr. Thomas Nickl-Jockschat, born in Weiden in 1977, studied human medicine at the University of Regensburg before working as a junior doctor at the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy and the Neurological Clinic at RWTH Aachen University. Following his doctorate at the University of Regensburg and his qualification as a specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy, he worked as a senior physician at the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Aachen and spent time at the American University of Pennsylvania, among other places. In 2017, he was appointed Associate Professor of Psychiatry and in 2021 to the Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa, USA.


In order to obtain a professorship at a university in Saxony-Anhalt, an appointment procedure must be carried out in accordance with Section 36 of the Higher Education Act of the State of Saxony-Anhalt (HSG LSA). Suitable candidates undergo an extensive procedure. An appointment committee made up of several experts assesses the candidate's performance in research, teaching and, in the case of clinically relevant professorships, also in patient care.

Last Modification: 02.02.2024 - Contact Person:

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