RG Wessa

Head: Univ.- Prof. Dr. Michèle Wessa




Christine Godtmann, scientist, Resilience Health Care Center
Aleksandra Kaurin, PhD student
Dr. Giannis Lois, postdoc
Laura Meine, PhD student
Magdalena Sandner, PhD student
Heike Schmidt-Harth, MTA-F
Dr. Vanessa Scholz, postdoc
Sandra Schönfelder, scientist
Katja Schüler, PhD student
Eike Strömer, PhD student
Mila Wolf, scientist
Peter Zeier, PhD student 

Research overview:
The research group Wessa investigates the neurobiological and behavioral correlates of relevant resilience mechanisms as well as related methods for behavior modification by use of psychological intervention methods. Emotion, motivational and cognitive mechanisms such as emotion regulation through reappraisal or distraction, reward processing and self efficacy expectancy are in the focus of our research. In two research projects of the CRC 1193 we particularly investigate effective emotion regulation under stress as well as the consequences of controllable and uncontrollable stress on human behavior. The use of neuropsychological as well as behavioral acquisition methods will allow us to characterize the mechanisms that contribute to enhanced stress resilience in human beings. Based on empirical results of these studies we will develop adequate intervention methods (face2face and online trainings) and investigate their effectivity in randomized control trials in different populations.

Current research projects:

  • Neural correlates of stress immunization – a potential resilience mechanism (SPECT)
  • Emotion regulation under stress (AStER)
  • Computational modeling of behavioral control
  • Blended resilience training to foster stress resilience in teachers (BooSTERIT)
  • Online-interventions to enhance stress resilience (ResOn)
  • M-PIRIE – Mechanisms of resilience

External collaboration partners:

  • Prof. Dr. Dirk Lehr, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Lüneburg, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Bohus, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany


  • German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • Ministry of Science of Rheinland Palatinate, Germany
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation
  • Robert Bosch Foundation

Key publications:

  • Wessa M, King AV, Meyer P, Frölich L, Flor H, Poupon C, Hoppstädter M, Linke J (2016) Impaired and preserved aspects of feedback learning in aMCI: contributions of structural connectivity. BSAF 221(5):2831-46.
  • Kanske P, Heissler J, Schönfelder S, Forneck J, Wessa M (2013) Neural correlates of emotional distractibility in bipolar disorder, unaffected relatives and individuals with hypomanic personality. Am J Psychiatry 170:1487-1496.
  • Linke J, King AV, Poupon C, Hennerici MG, Gass P, Wessa M (2013) Impaired anatomical connectivity and related executive functions: Differentiating vulnerability and disease marker in bipolar disorder. Biol Psychiatry 74:908-916.
  • Kanske P, Heissler J, Schönfelder S, Bongers A, Wessa M (2011) How to Regulate Emotion? Neural Networks for Reappraisal and Distraction. Cereb Cortex 21:1379-88.
  • Wessa M, Linke J, Witt S, Nieratschker V, Esslinger C, Kirsch P, Grimm O, Hennerici MG, Gass A, King AV, Rietschel M (2010) The CACNA1C risk variant for bipolar disorder influences limbic activity. Molecular Psychiatry 15:1126-1127.