The IRTG 2804 (International Research Training Group 2804) strives to enhance interdisciplinary research and education on a topic of high clinical and societal relevance: women’s mental health across the reproductive years.

Women undergo hormonal transitions several times throughout their lives that can impact brain plasticity and their cognitive and emotional processes, thus ultimately influencing mental health. During these transition phases (puberty, pregnancy and menopause), the risk of mental illness increases dramatically, especially with regard to affective, anxiety and stress-related disorders. Within our IRTG we aim to better understand the associations between hormonal transition phases and women’s mental health by addressing specific hypotheses in the context of sex hormone variation.

We will emphasize on negative and positive valence as many mental disorders are characterized by the so-called emotional bias, that is high levels of negative emotion and/or loss of positive emotional experience. To do so, we will orient all projects along a translational approach to human behavior and (afflicted) mental health. This will enable us to target specific (neuro)biological processes underlying psychopathology in the realm of negative (stress reactivity) and positive valence (reward), and to cover different system levels (from behavior to brain plasticity). Our long-term perspective is to improve prevention, detection and treatment of mental disorders in women.