Klinik für Psychische Gesundheit

Personalised Trial Centre

The Department of Mental Health has a longstanding clinical and research focus on optimizing treatment outcomes in difficult to treat severe mental illness of patients from all over Germany. The study centre conducts clinical and clinical-experimental studies focusing on the development and evaluation of neuromodulation, pharmacological, psychological and non-pharmacological (e.g. physical exercise, nutrition) innovative treatments in patients with complex and often treatment resistant affective disorders and disorders of the psychosis spectrum. The Trial Centre has taken the direction to define, develop and conduct stratified and personalised proof of concept studies that can be rolled out in larger clinical trials. The regional Clinical Trial Network Mental Health Münsterland offers the opportunity to recruit larger scale patient cohorts for discovery and validation purposes and to translate and roll out personalized treatment approaches in due course to real-world mental health services. 

Theme and Objectives

In the study centre we conduct proof of concept studies and investigate the efficacy and safety of various methods of Neuromodulation such as Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS), transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) and Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) as well as short acting antidepressants such as Ketamine and other compounds. Importantly, we also conduct clinical studies investigating immunmodulating compounds and their effects on mental health outcomes. Moreover, our team explores clinical pathways and the efficacy and safety of combined treatments of neuromodulation and antidepressants and/or mood stabilizing treatments to improve clinical outcomes in difficult to treat courses of affective disorders. Finally, all our deeply phenotyped clinical trial studies provide the opportunity to investigate biological underpinnings of treatment effects and disorders paving the way for reverse translation (bedsite to bench and back) and stratified personalized Mental Health research and treatment delivery.


  1. Neurostimulation
    • We conduct various studies on efficacy and safety of different brain stimulation techniques
      1. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
      2. Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS), Restore-LIFE Study
      3. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS)
      4. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)
      5. Combination of brain stimulation and psychotherapy as well as cognitive, emotional und functional treatment strategies
      6. Genomics of ECT-Response  in GenECT-ic – International Consortium (Lead: Bernhard Baune and Pat Sullivan)
  2. Pharmacological Studies
    • Immunmodulating therapies
    • Ketamine with intravenous und intranasal administration
    • Ketamine in combination with brain stimulation such as rTMS or with psychotherapy or pharmacological interventions
    • Transnosological pharmacogenomic / transcriptomic response studies (ECNP TWG network; Lead: Bernhard Baune)
  3. Psychological Interventions

    • Cognitive remediation studies
    • Studies using CBASP and Schema therapy
    • Modular psychotherapy
    • Tele Mental Health
    • Cognitive and emotional intervention research to address psychosocial functional outcomes
  4. Physical activity (PA) Interventions

    • PA in the Moodstratification Study (EU-funded)
    • Experience of PA in patients with mood disorders
    • Study on the perceived therapeutic prospects of PA among mental health personell
  5. Evaluation of combination treatments

    • While trials on certain methods are essential to understand their efficacy, effectiveness and safety and biological mechanisms, their clinical value by combining different methods remains to be known. Particularly, patients with complex treatment needs, partial or non-response to certain interventions require a combined treatment approach. We conduct various trials that combine several of the above interventions to achieve improved clinical outcomes. The clinical trials assit to inform treatment algorithms.
  6. Biological Research in Clinical Trials

    • A multimodal research strategy is employed to unravel the neurobiology of neurostimulation (e.g. MEG, Neuroimaging), pharmacological (e.g., genomics/transcriptomics/epigenomics), immunmodulating (e.g. inflammatory marker, B-cell and T-cell marker and pathway analyses) and psychotherapeutic (e.g. oxytocin effects) clinical effects.
    • We conduct various MEG-studies to identify neurobiological correlates of various brain stimulation techniques (VNS, tDCS, rTMS, ECT) and psychological interventions. MEG is available locally at the University Hospital Münster.
    • A key challenge is the development of powerful and adequate bioinformatic strategies to deal with multimodal and complex data.


  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Bernhard Baune, MPH, MBA, FRANZCP
  • Dr. med. Erhan Kavakbasi, Senior Psychiatrist
  • Prof. Silke Jörgens, Research Psychologist
  • Alexandra Stoelck, Senior House Officer, Psychiatry
  • Sarah Fromme, Psychologist
  • Isabelle Stickdorn, Physiotherapist
  • Emma Sampson, PhD candidate (visiting from overseas)
  • Ruth Fellmeth, Medical Student
  • Charlotte Alexandra Stapper, Medical Student
  • Theresa Sofia Möschter, Psychology Student
  • Hildegard Stücker, Study Nurse

Intramural Collaborators

  • Prof. Joachim Gross (Institute of Biomagnetism and Bio-Signal Analysis, University of Münster) 
  • Prof. Monika Stoll (Genomics Core Facility, University of Münster)


  • LivaNova
  • Janssen
  • Fay Fuller Foundation
  • James and Diana Ramsay Foundation
  • Inhouse funding

Selected Publications on recently completed clinical trials

Knight MJ, Fourrier C, Lyrtzis E, Aboustate N, Sampson E, Hori H, Mills NT, Baune BT. (2018) Cognitive Deficits in the THINC-Integrated Tool (THINC-it) Are Associated With Psychosocial Dysfunction in Patients With Major Depressive Disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. Nov 20;80(1).

Fourrier C, Sampson E, Mills NT, Baune BT (2018) Anti-inflammatory treatment of depression: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial of vortioxetine augmented with celecoxib or placebo. Trials. 2018 Aug 20;19(1):447.

Knight MJ, Baune BT (2017) Psychosocial Dysfunction in Major Depressive Disorder – Rationale, Design, and Characteristics of The Cognitive and Emotional Recovery Training Program for Depression (CERT-D). Frontiers in Psychiatry, Dec 12;8:280.


Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Bernhard Baune, MPH, MBA, FRANZCP
Tel.: +49 (0) 251 / 83-56664
E-Mail: bernhard.baune(at)­ukmuenster(dot)­de

Administrative assistance:
Mrs. K. Ulrich
Mrs. D. Heil
Tel.: +49 (0)251 / 83-56664
Tel.: +49 (0) 251 / 83-58641
Fax: +49 (0)251 / 83-56988
E-Mail: Kerstin.Ulrich(at)­ukmuenster(dot)­de