Titleimage: University Clinics UPD

The Universitäre Psychiatrische Dienste (UPD) provides all aspects of secondary and tertiary treatment in psychiatry across the life span and is responsible for the academic teaching of all psychiatric disciplines at the University. The UPD is committed to progress in the understanding, treatment, and prevention in psychiatry by clinical translational research. In three separate hospitals, the Department covers psychiatric, psychological and caregiving aspects in childhood, adolescence, young to old age adults.

Information on the clinical offers can be found at:


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Elisabeth Hertenstein receives a major grant from the "Ambizione" (SNSF)

Dr phil. Elisabeth Hertenstein, researcher at the University Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy (UPD) and now at the Psychiatric Clinic at the University of Geneva, has won a major grant for her project "Comparative efficacy of bedtime restriction therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia - a randomized controlled non-inferiority trial" as part of the "Ambizione" programme of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). She will be funded for four years with a sum of CHF 955'144.

New paper alert: Review on Catatonia, New England Journal of Medicine

Stephan Heckers and Sebastian Walther performed a state-of-the-art review on catatonia in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. They discuss multiple presentations and treatment of catatonia in various settings. Sensational Impact Factor of 158.5!

Jessica Peter receives SNSF Starting Grant

Prof. Dr. Jessica Peter from the Department of Old Age Psychiatry and Psychotherapy receives an SNSF Starting Grant (~ CHF 1.8 million) to run a 5-year project on remembering and forgetting in health and disease. The project will combine non-invasive brain stimulation and neuroimaging to investigate how memories are formed or forgotten in younger and older healthy adults as well as in patients with depression.

Stephanie Lefebvre won the 1st Poster prize at the SSBP 2023 annual symposium

In this work (in press in Brain) Stephanie Lefebvre et al. from Pr. Sebastian Walther's team explored the association between psychomotor slowing and cortical excitability in schizophrenia

Lydia Maderthaner won the clinical research poster prize at the 18th Annual Meeting Clinical Neuroscience Bern

In this work, Lydia Maderthaner and Sebastian Walther demonstrated that the subdomains of though disorders rely on different brain pattern alteration.

Mélodie Derome, PhD wins the prestigious Frutiger Prize 2023 - two prizes were awarded

Mélodie Derome from the research group of Prof. Katharina Stegmayer has been conducting excellent neuroscientific research in youth and the so called ultra-high risk (UHR) period immediately preceding the onset of psychosis. It is important to note that the UHR period often occurs during adolescence, a period characterized by rapid and significant neural reorganization. However, still there is no consensus about the exact nature of impairment prior to the onset of the disorder. Mrs Derome was among the first to provide developmental measures during adolescence. She moved our understanding of three predic-tors: schizotypy, anomalous experiences of the self, and childhood trauma in schizophrenia significantly ahead, confirming the importance of positive schizotypy for the development of the risk to develop self-disturbances, in particular during the transition between childhood to adolescence. Schizotypy could therefore become one of the markers of psychosis risk. The prize will be a sustainable promotion of her excellent, cutting-edge research and will have a significant impact on her research carrier.

Andjela Markovic, PhD wins the prestigious Frutiger Prize 2023 - two prizes were awarded

Andjela Markovic from the research group of Prof. Leila Tarokh has been thriving in performing cutting-edge research on the link between sleep behavior, neurophysiology, and environmental factors with several original and timely projects. For instance, based on longitudinal data from 781 families fol-lowed throughout the COVID-19 confinement in 2020, Dr. Markovic identified the risk and protective factors for young children’s sleep behavior and published this work in the Journal of Sleep Research. This knowledge creates opportunities for tailoring early interventions to support children’s sleep and thereby healthy devel-opment. Dr. Markovic's scientific track record is impressive, with her work already being cited over 280 times at this early stage of her career. She has been listed as an author in 16 original peer-reviewed publications. Of those, she has served as the first or last author 15 times, primarily in neuroscientific and psychiatric journals. In summary, Dr. Markovic is an exceptional, talented, and hard-working scientist who has demonstrated remarkable growth as a professional researcher.

Victoria Chapellier won a Early Career Award at SIRS 2023

Congratulation to Victoria Chapellier from Sebastian Walther's team for her SIRS early career award.

Melanie G Nuoffer won the Poster prize at the GISS 2023 for her work gait in schizophrenia

In this work, (doi: 10.1038/s41537-022-00324-x), Melanie G Nuoffer and Sebastian Walther demonstrated Patients with psychomotor slowing are specifically impaired when an adaptation of gait patterns is required, contributing to the deleterious effects of sedentary behaviours.

Dr. Dr. Lukas Krone has won the 2022 Young scientist Award of the European Sleep Research Society (ESRS)

The ESRS promotes Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine in Europe. The award is presented every biennially at the European Sleep Research Congress to four young scientists for outstanding scientific contributions. In his project together with the Universities of Oxford and Freiburg im Breisgau on the sleep-modulating effects of clozapine derivatives, Lukas Krone and his doctoral student Janine Traut were able to show systematic changes in the sleep architecture and sleep-related brain activity of mice by substances that have structural similarities to the antipsychotic clozapine.

Lukas Krone has been working since 2021 as an assistant physician and "clinician scientist" at the University Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the of the UPD. Previously, he completed his Ph. in medicine and neuroscience at the universities of Freiburg (Germany) and Oxford (United Kingdom). (UK). For his research on regulatory mechanisms of sleep of sleep, he has already received the Young Investigator Award of the the World Sleep Society in 2020 and the Young Investigator Award of the of the German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine.

Annekatrin Steinhoff receives SNSF Starting Grant

Dr. Annekatrin Steinhoff from the research department of the University Hospital for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy receives an SNSF Starting Grant (~ CHF 1.8 million) to become an assistant professor at the University of Bern and run a project on adolescent self-harm for a period of five years. The project will focus on the biopsychosocial processes associated with self-harm onset and maintenance.

Poster prize at the 22nd annual meeting of the Austrian Association of Psychiatry and Psychotherapie (ÖGPP) 28.-30.04.2022

In this work, Lydia Maderthaner and Sebastian Walther demonstrated that the subdomains of though disorders rely on different brain pattern alteration.

Successful workshop on attentional control and prospective memory

With financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation PD Dr. Jessica Peter and Prof. Dr. Matthias Kliegel brought together international and national experts as well as PhD students / Postdocs from Bern and Geneva to have a closer look into the interplay between attentional control and prospective memory. Thanks to everyone for the interesting talks and the lively discussions!

New paper on the effects of cortisol administration on craving in patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD)

In this study, Soravia, Moggi and de Quervain could show that cortisol as well as repeated in-vivo exposure to alcohol reduced craving in patients with severe AUD. Adding cortisol to in-vivo exposure might therefore be a promising approach for reducing the strength of drug-associated memories and promote the consolidation of extinction memory in patients with severe AUD.

New Paper on Sleep Neurophysiology in Childhood Onset Schizophrenia

In this study, Markovic et al., examine sleep oscillatory activity as measured via EEG in children and adolescents diagnosed with childhood onset schizophrenia. Compared to age and sex matched controls, patients had diminished high frequency (beta) power over widespread cortical regions coupled with a pattern of hyperconnectivity across brain regions. This study demonstrates the utility of the sleep EEG in studying vulnerable populations and aiding in diagnosis.

Suicide prevention project funded

Dr. Anja Gysin-Maillart and Prof. Sebastian Walther receive 1.5 Million CHF funding from the Swiss Health Promotion to run a four-year project on suicide prevention. The project will test the outreach of an effective short-term psychotherapy (ASSIP) to patients who were previously unable to participate due to immobility or fear of stigma. ASSIP home treatment will implement this short psychotherapy in the patients’ homes and include their network of caregivers.


Carole Wagnon received the Young Investigator Award

Carole Wagnon from the research group of PD Dr. Jessica Peter (Old Age Psychiatry and Psychotherapy) received the Young Investigator Award for Best Poster Presentation at the 6th Annual Brain Stimulation and Imaging Meeting. She presented the results of her PhD project on "Supporting incidental learning with transcranial direct current stimulation in healthy young individuals".

Inaugural lecture PD Dr. Jessica Peter

The inaugural lecture of PD Dr.phil. Jessica Peter will take place on March, 18 2020 at 5 p.m.
at the "Auditorium Wölfli" University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy,
Universitäre Psychiatrische Dienste Bern, Bolligenstrasse 111.

Schizophrenia Bulletin paper

"Single Session Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Ameliorates Hand Gesture Deficits in Schizophrenia"
is the title of a novel and original paper of Prof. Dr. Sebastian Walther et.al.,
In this article the effect of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on hand gesture performance in Schizophrenia is nicely demonstrated.


Inaugural lecture of PD Katharina Stegmayer

The inaugural lecture of PD Dr. med. Katharina Stegmayer.will take place on August, 23 2019 at 16:30
at the "Auditorium Wölfli" University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy,
Universitäre Psychiatrische Dienste Bern, Bolligenstrasse 111.



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