Klinik für Psychische Gesundheit

Systems Neuroscience of Psychosis



Theme and Objectives

The Lencer group on Systems Neuroscience follows two lines of research.

  1. We study different aspects of neurophysiological biomarkers for psychotic disorders including alterations of functional and structural brain systems and their genetic underpinnings. Here, one major focus lies on models of impaired eye movement control as indicator of increased genetic risk to psychosis.
  2. Related to our clinical work, we focus on cognitive behavioral therapy for psychotic disorders including therapeutic approaches for fostering pro-adherence attitudes towards psychiatric treatment. Further aspects we are specifically interested in are the role of self-stigmatization and novel eMental Health tools in the treatment of psychotic disorders.

  • Prof. Dr. med. Rebekka Lencer, specialist in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, speaker of the interdisciplinary Otto-Creutzfeld Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience (https://www.uni-muenster.de/OCCMuenster/)
  • Dr. José Gonzalez Hernandez
  • Dr. phil. M. Sc. Inga Meyhöfer, psychologist, expert on eye movement research
  • M. Sc. Marian Surmann, psychologist, expert on early detection of psychotic and affective disorders
  • Dr. med. Karen Rolfes, specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy, specialist in neurology
  • Teresa Fasshauer, cand. med.
  • Svenja Brakemeier, cand. med.
  • Isabel Standke, cand. med. (MedKolleg)
  • Johanna Schwarzer, cand. med.
  • Johanna Rehder, master student Psychology
  • Julian Herpertz, cand. med.
  • Anna Brüne, cand. med.


  • Smooth Pursuit Deficits as Intermediate Phenotypes for Psychotic Disorders as part of the Bipolar-Schizophrenia Intermediate Phenotype network (B-SNIP II), second recruitment phase
  • Performance of smooth pursuit eye movements across the psychosis spectrum using individual prediction algorithms
  • Alterations of intrinsic brain networks predicting visual disturbances subjects at clinical high risk and first-episode psychosis
  • Saccadic suppression in schizophrenia
  • Multi-channel transcranial direct current stimulation (mc-tDCS): a novel approach to modulate visual motion perception and eye movement control in healthy individuals and patients with psychotic disorders
  • Correlates of impairments of anticipation and expectation in brain and behavior in psychotic disorders: Neural correlates of altered cognitive flexibility and stability for motor control in schizophrenia – just two sides of the same coin?
  • Impact of social support and quality of life on self-stigmatization and treatment adherence in schizophrenia

Current funding

  • European Union:
    • Personalized Prognostic Tools for Early Psychosis Management
    • Plasticity of Perceptual space Under Sensorimotor interactions PLATYPUS
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Intramural funding Innovative Medizinische Forschung (IMF) to Inga Meyhöfer

  1. Brakemeier S, Sprenger A, Meyhöfer I, McDowell JE, Rubin LH, Hill SK, Keshavan MS, Pearlson GD, Tamminga CA, Gershon ES, Keedy SS, Sweeney JA, Clementz BA, Lencer R (2019) Smooth pursuit eye movement deficits as a biomarker for psychotic features in bipolar disorder - Findings from the PARDIP study. Bipolar Disord. 2019 Nov 13. doi: 10.1111/bdi.12865. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Alliey-Rodriguez N, Grey TA, Shafee R, Asif H, Lutz O, Bolo NR, Padmanabhan J, Tandon N, Klinger M, Reis K, Spring J, Coppes L, Zeng V, Hegde RR, Hoang DT, Bannai D, Nawaz U, Henson P, Liu S, Gage D, McCarroll S, Bishop JR, Hill S, Reilly JL, Lencer R, Clementz BA, Buckley P, Glahn DC, Meda SA, Narayanan B, Pearlson G, Keshavan MS, Ivleva EI, Tamminga C, Sweeney JA, Curtis D, Badner JA, Keedy S, Rapoport J, Liu C, Gershon ES (2019) NRXN1 is associated with enlargement of the temporal horns of the lateral ventricles in psychosis. Transl Psychiatry 9(1):230. doi: 10.1038/s41398-019-0564-9
  3. Fasshauer T, Sprenger A, Silling K, Silberg JE, Vosseler A, Minoshita S, Satoh S, Dorr M, Koelkebeck K, Lencer R (2019) Visual exploration of emotional faces in schizophrenia using masks from the Japanese Noh theatre. Neuropsychologia Sep 10:107193. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2019.107193. [Epub ahead of print]
  4. Lencer R, Yao L, Reilly JL, Keedy SK, McDowell JE, Keshavan MS, Pearlson GD, Tamminga CA, Gershon ES; Clementz BA, Lui S, Sweeney JA (2019) Alterations in intrinsic fronto-thalamo-parietal connectivity are associated with cognitive control deficits in psychotic disorders. Hum Brain Map 2018 Sep 10. doi: 10.1002/hbm.24362.
  5. LencerR, Mills LJ, Alliey-Rodriguez N; Shafee R, Lee A, Reilly JL, Sprenger A, McDowell JE, McCarroll SA, Keshavan MS, Pearlson GD, Tamminga CA,Clementz BA, Gershon ES, Sweeney JA, Bishop JR (2017) Genome-wide association studies of smooth pursuit and antisaccade eye movements in psychotic disorders: findings from the B-SNIP study. Transl Psychiatry 7, e1249. doi:10.1038/tp.2017.210


Prof. Dr. med. Rebekka Lencer
Tel.: + 49 251 83 52581
E-Mail: rebekka.lencer(at)­ukmuenster(dot)­de

Administration assistance:
Karin Biesenroth
Tel.: +49 (0)251 / 83-56618
Fax: +49 (0)251 / 83-56988
E-Mail: karin.biesenroth(at)­ukmuenster(dot)­de