100 Years of Psychiatry & Neurobiology

MPIs of Neurobiology and of Psychiatry celebrate their anniversary

March 13, 2017

On the 13th and 14th of March, the Max Planck Institutes of Neurobiology and of Psychiatry together celebrated their 100th anniversary with a scientific symposium, which featured top-class scientists speaking about their current research in the two fields. The program can be found in the column on the right-hand side. The opening ceremony was attended by famous personalities from science, politics and society. Both institutes are displaying an exhibition, which shows scientific methods and the main areas of focus from the 100 years of the institutes’ history on twelve panels. A timeline traces the history of the two institutes (please see link on the right-hand side).

Understanding the brain

The "German Research Institute of Psychiatry", the forerunner institute of the MPIs of Psychiatry and of Neurobiology, was founded in 1917. The idea of this privately financed and independent brain research institute was, at that time, very progressive: the institute’s interdisciplinary scientific approach was to open up new methods, knowledge and treatment options for the field of psychiatry. For example, Emil Kraepelin, the founder of the institute, introduced the practice of recording patient symptoms on admission cards. “What sounds obvious today, was at that time revolutionary – science-based psychiatry was born,” summarizes Elisabeth Binder, Managing Director of the MPI of Psychiatry.

To this day, both institutes remain dedicated to the ambition of using new methods and approaches to gain fundamental insights into the brain. Already early on, two main areas of focus developed and the institute was divided into a clinical and a theoretical-neurobiological section in 1962. In 1998, the latter became the independent MPI of Neurobiology. “The two institutes continue to complement each other superbly, and together, contribute to a holistic understanding of the brain,“ says Herwig Baier, Managing Director of the MPI of Neurobiology.

Website of the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry: www.psych.mpg.de

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