Molecular Organization of the Brain

The INM-2 investigates the molecular basis of functional systems in the healthy and diseased brain and examines the organisation of neuronal networks.

Our scientific focus is on the in vivo decoding of molecular, cellular and systemic basics of brain function/dysfunction and their dynamic changes by means of imaging techniques.

Thematically, we investigate the physiological basis of brain function and its adaptation from short-term circadian fluctuations (e.g. role of the adenosine system in the sleep-wake rhythm) to lifelong changes (aging of the brain). We are also interested in molecular pathomechanisms of brain diseases (e.g. protein aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases) and the resulting plastic compensation and reserve mechanisms.

Methodologically, modern methods of molecular imaging (PET) but also of structural and functional imaging (MRT, MRS, fMRT) as well as electrophysiological and neurochemical methods are used in model organisms, volunteer and patient studies. Also the development of new methods for image data analysis as well as the co-development and translation of new imaging methods (e.g. new radiotracers) up to clinical/diagnostic applications belong to our fields of interest.


Amyloid-PET and ¹⁸F-FDG-PET in the diagnostic
investigation of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias

Various biomarkers are available to support the diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases in clinical and research settings. Among the molecular imaging biomarkers, amyloid-PET, which assesses brain amyloid deposition, and ¹⁸F-fluorodeoxyglucose (¹⁸F-FDG) PET, which assesses glucose metabolism, provide valuable and complementary information ...

Accolade of the Brain Imaging Council Young Investigator Award 2020 for Merle Hönig

Dr. Merle Hönig received the Brain Imaging Council Young Investigator Award 2020 at this year's international conference of the Society for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) for her presentation "Resistance to Tau and Amyloid Pathology Facilitates Super-Aging".

Molekulares Neuroimaging

Molecular Neuroimaging

The focus of our research is on metabolic and neurochemical processes which underlie fundamental functions of the brain (e. g. sleep-wake regulation) and neurological and psychiatric diseases (e.g. dementia, depression).



The Optophysiology Laboratory investigates the neural circuits of decision-making in mice navigating in virtual reality.


Striatal dopamine and volitional motor control

Vigor, planning, and incentive salience


Using PET for the Evaluation of Innovative Analgetics with Dual Mode of Action (Dual²PET)

Innovative drugs targeting two modes of action based on one chemical structure are a promising novel therapeutic approach in medicine.



Imaging synaptic plasticity in therapeutic sleep deprivation for major depression

PET imaging of A2A adenosine receptors

Preclinical evaluation of a 18F-labelled A2A adenosine receptor ligand for in vivo brain imaging

PET Kaffee


Habitual Daily Coffee Intake to Ensure Optimal Cognitive Performance in the Face of Chronic Sleep Restriction?