Mathias V. Schmidt Is There a Common Molecular Link that Drives the Stress Risk for Disease?

Mathias V. Schmidt is Leader of the research group ‘Neurobiology of Stress Resilience’ at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry. Previously, he was Principal Investigator of the research group ‘Molecular Stress Physiology’ at the same Institute. His current research focus is on the behavioral, neuroendocrine and molecular basis of individual stress vulnerability and resilience. He is Associate Editor of Frontiers in Behavioural Neurosciences and Member of the Editorial Board of Stress and PLoS One. Since 2017, he is chair and organizer of the Munich Winter Conference on Stress series.

Area of Research


J Hartmann, L. Hoeijmakers, N. Dedic, M. L. Pöhlmann, A. Häusl, H. Karst, C. Engelhardt, S. Westerholz, K. V. Wagner, C. Labermaier, L. Hoeijmakers, M. Kertokarijo, A. Chen et al. "Forebrain Glutamatergic, but not GABAergic Neurons Mediate Anxiogenic Effects of the Glucocorticoid Receptor." Molecular Psychiatry 22, 3 (2017): 466-475. doi:10.1038/mp.2016.87.  
A. Uribe-Marino, N. C. Gassen, M. F. Wiesbeck, G. Balsevich, S. Santarelli, B. Solfrank, C. Dournes, G. R. Fries, M. Masana, C. Labermaier, X. D. Wang, K. Hafner, B. Schmid et al. "Prefrontal Cortex Corticotropin-releasing Hormone Receptor 1 Conveys Acute Stress-induced Executive Dysfunction." Biological Psychiatry 80, 10 (2016): 743-753. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2016.03.2106.  
Klaus V Wagner, Jakob Hartmann, Christiana Labermaier, Alexander S. Häusl, Gengjing Zhao, Daniela Harbich, Bianca Schmid, Xiao-Dong Wang, Sara Santarelli, Christine Kohl, Nils C. Gassen, Natalie Matosin, Marcel Schieven et al. "Homer1/mGluR5 Activity Moderates Vulnerability to Chronic Social Stress." Neuropsychopharmacology 40, 5 (2015): 1222-33. doi:10.1038/npp.2014.308.  
N. C. Gassen, J. Hartmann, J. Zschocke, J. Stepan, K. Hafner, A. Zellner, T. Kirmeier, L. Kollmannsberger, K. V. Wagner, N. Dedic, G. Balsevich, J. M. Deussing, S. Kloiber et al. "Association of FKBP51 with Priming Autophagy Pathways and Mediating Antidepressant Treatment Response: Evidence in Cells, Mice and Humans." Plos Medicine 11, 11 (2014): No. e1001755. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001755.  
Xiao-Dong Wang, Yun-Ai Su, Klaus V. Wagner, Charilaos Avrabos, Sebastian H. Scharf, Jakob Hartmann, Miriam Wolf, Claudia Liebl, Claudia Kühne, Wolfgang Wurst, Florian Holsboer, Matthias Eder, Jan M. Deussing et al. "Nectin-3 Links CRHR1 Signaling to Stress-induced Memory Deficits and Spine Loss." Nature Neuroscience 16, 6 (2013): 706-13. doi:10.1038/nn.3395.  

since 2010

Research Group Leader 'Neurobiology of Stress Resilience'

Max Planck Society (more details)

Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry


Principle Investigator

Max Planck Society (more details)

Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry


Postdoctoral Fellow

Max Planck Society (more details)

Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry



Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)


PhD in Biology

University of Leiden

Division of Medical Pharmacology LACDR


Master degree in Biology

University of Delaware

Department of Psychology

- European Brain and Behaviour Society (EBBS)

- International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology (ISPNE)

- European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP)


- BioM M4 award of the Bavarian State Ministry (2016)

- Ernst und Berta Scharrer Award of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Endokrinologie (2011)

- NARSAD Young Investigator Award (2011)

- EBBS Early-Career 40th Anniversary Award (2008)

© Maximilian Dörrbecker

Max Planck Society

"The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field." (Source)


Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry

"The Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, which focuses primarily on research into depression and anxiety disorders, is one of the world's leading institutes in this field. Here, basic research is closely interlinked with clinical research: the Institute incorporates a 120-bed hospital, numerous specialist outpatient departments and a day unit. Within these facilities, the modern research branches of genetics and proteomics are combined with the clinical analysis techniques of imaging and the measurement of brain function. The aim is to identify biomarkers of psychiatric and neurological disorders in a bid to better understand the molecular basis of these diseases. The knowledge obtained goes into the development of new therapies and drugs for the personalised medicine of tomorrow." (Source)


Almost everybody has to deal with stress sometimes. But what is stress? It is a reaction of the body to a challenging situation which elicits a stress response in the body. Stress is also a risk factor for disease and this is an area that MATHIAS V. SCHMIDT and his research team focus on. The most prominent stress-related disorders are psychiatric disorders and metabolic disorders. Specifically, as Schmidt explains in this video, they ask: Is there a common molecular link that may drive the stress risk for disease? A potential molecular link they found is FKBP51. To test this hypothesis they used FKBP51 knockout animals, their cells and also a pharmacological tool, a FKBP51-specific antagonist. The experiments confirmed that FKBP51 indeed links stress response with an increased risk for metabolic disorders. Their findings can thus be used to develop a drug that can then be tested on humans.

LT Video Publication DOI:

Stress-Responsive FKBP51 Regulates AKT2-AS160 Signaling and Metabolic Function

  • Georgia Balsevich, Alexander S. Häusl, Carola W. Meyer, Stoyo Karamihalev, Xixi Feng, Max L. Pöhlmann, Carine Dournes, Andres Uribe-Marino, Sara Santarelli and Mathias V. Schmidt
  • Nature Communications
  • Published in 2017
Georgia Balsevich, Alexander S. Häusl, Carola W. Meyer, Stoyo Karamihalev, Xixi Feng, Max L. Pöhlmann, Carine Dournes, Andres Uribe-Marino, Sara Santarelli and Mathias V. Schmidt. "Stress-Responsive FKBP51 Regulates AKT2-AS160 Signaling and Metabolic Function." Nature Communications 8 (2017): 1725.