Individual risk profiles and prediction of the clinical course of affective disorders

Affective disorders such as depression are among the most common psychiatric disorders and represent one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. In treating depression, we are currently unable to estimate how successful any one course of action will be at alleviating symptoms for each individual patient. Therefore, our goal is to gather information at the beginning and during treatment – through systematic collection and analyses of data from electronical health records as well as from scientific studies and mobile devices such as smartphones– in order to create individual risk profiles and predict the individual disease course. Specifically, the project SEED 11/18 aims to develop models that would aid in identifying patients at risk of recurring depressive episodes. A subsequent research aim is the translation of our findings into improved preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic interventions in the clinical field. To achieve this aim SEED 11/18 was designed as a collaborative project of the Institute of Medical Informatics and the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy thus bringing together both clinical expertise and techniques as well as in-depth knowledge in the domain of data science and digitalized medicine.

Current funding

  • IZKF-Project SEED11/18 “Individualised prediction of the course of affective disorders by the use of integrated clinical and experimental data” to Nils Opel
  • IMF-Project “Smartphone based phenotyping of affective disorders” to Nils Opel and Tim Hahn
  • Clinician Scientist Program of the Medical Faculty, University of Münster “Neurobiological correlates of obesity as a risk factor for affective disorders” to Nils Opel

Current selected publications

Repple J, Karliczek G, Meinert S, Förster K, Grotegerd D, Goltermann J, Förster K, Redlich R, Arolt V, Baune  BT, Dannlowski U, Opel N. (2019) Variation of HbA1c affects cognition and white matter microstructure in healthy, young adults. Mol Psychiatry 2019; 507186.

Opel N, Redlich R, Dohm K, Zaremba D, Goltermann J, Repple J, Kaehler C, Grotegerd D, Leehr EJ, Böhnlein J, Förster K, Meinert S, Enneking V, Sindermann L, Dzvonyar F, Emden D, Leenings R, Winter N, Hahn T, Kugel H, Heindel W, Buhlmann U, Baune BT, Arolt V, Dannlowski U (2019). Mediation of the influence of childhood maltreatment on depression relapse by cortical structure: a 2-year longitudinal observational study. Lancet Psychiatry 6:318-326

Opel N, Amare AT, Redlich R, Repple J, Kähler C, Grotegerd D, Dohm K, Zaremba D, Leehr EJ, Böhnlein J, Förster K, Bürger C, Meinert S, Enneking V, Emden D, Leenings R, Winter N, Hahn T, Heindel W, Bauer J, Wilhelms D, Schmitt S, Jansen A, Krug A, Nenadic I, Rietschel M, Witt S, Forstner AJ, Nöthen MM, Kircher T, Arolt V, Baune BT, Dannlowski U (2018). Cortical surface area alterations shaped by genetic load for neuroticism. Molecular Psychiatry.

Opel N, Redlich R, Kaehler C, Grotegerd D, Dohm K, Heindel W, Kugel H, Thalamuthu A, Koutsouleris N, Arolt V, Teuber A, Wersching H, Baune BT, Berger K, Dannlowski U (2017). Prefrontal gray matter volume mediates genetic risks for obesity. Molecular Psychiatry 22:703-710


Dr. med. Nils Opel 
Junior Group Leader
E-Mail: nils.opel(at)­ukmuenster(dot)­de

Administration assistance:
Bettina Walden, M.A.

Tel.: +49 (0)251 / 83-56610
E-Mail: bettina.walden@­