Dr. G. Hasler Group (Psychiatry)

Group leader

Gregor Hasler
University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Institution and Address

Freiburger Netzwerk für Psychische Gesundheit
University of Fribourg
Chemin du Cardinal-Journet 3
1752 Villars-sur-Glâne
Phone: +41 79 541 98 49
e-mail: gregor.hasler@unifr.ch

Main goals

To elucidate the molecular basis of mood and anxiety disorders and to translate novel insights into clinical practice. Developing novel strategies for treatment-resistant mood disorders.

Group members and their position

4 MD (F. Akkus, S. Breit, P. Homan, A. Wolf)
1 Postdocs (Y. Mihov)
2 PhD student (S. Müller, C. Ritter)
1 Trainee (M. Camenzind)

Previous and current research

  1. In previous studies, we investigated the comorbidity of depression and temporal lobe epilepsy and the role of sleep duration and excessive daytime sleepiness in mental and physical health.
  2. In a series of papers we investigated the role of the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 in mood and anxiety disorders and addiction. In combined fMRI/PET studies and animal studies we will determine the mechanistic role of mGluR5 in these conditions.
  3. Using alpha-methyl-paratyrosine, we have studied the role of catecholamine neurotransmission in reward processing in depres-sion, bulimia nervosa and daytime sleepiness.
  4. Adopting methods from behavioral economics and neuroscience we are currently investingating social decision-making in various psychiatric conditions.

Future projects

  1. Large imaging-genetic study to determine the role of glutamine, glutamate, GABA / trauma / social factors in the pathogenesis of mood and anxiety disorders.
  2. Study on circadian rhythm disorders and excessive daytime sleepiness in bipolar depression

Techniques / methods

  • Molecular Imaging (PET, MRS, fMRI)
  • Pharmacological and psychological manipulations
  • Animal models
  • Genetics
  • Neurostimulation
  • Game theory-based social experiments

Selected publications

  • Hasler G, Buysse DJ, Klaghofer R, Gamma A, Ajdacic V, Eich D, Rössler W, Angst J (2004) The association between short sleep duration and obesity in young adults. A 13-year prospective study.
    Sleep 27: 661-666
  • Hasler G, Bonwetsch R, Giovacchini G, Toczek MT, Bagic A, Luckenbaugh DA, Drevets WC, Theodore WH (2007) 5-HT1A receptor binding in temporal lobe epilepsy patients with and with-out major depression.
    Biological Psychiatry 62:1258-1264
  • Hasler G, van der Veen JW, Grillon C, Drevets W, Shen J (2010) Effect of Acute Psychological Stress on Prefrontal Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid Concentration Determined by Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.
    American Journal of Psychiatry 167:1226-31
  • Grob S, Stern J, Gamper L, Moergeli H, Milos G, Schnyder U, Hasler G (2013) Behavioral Responses to Catecholamine Deple-tion in Unmedicated, Remitted Subjects with Bulimia Nervosa and Healthy Subjects.
    Biological Psychiatry, ePub
  • Akkus F, Ametamey S.M, Treyer V, Burger C, Johayem A, Um-bricht D, Gomez Mancilla B, Sovago J, Buck A, Hasler G (2013) Marked global reduction in mGluR5 receptor binding in smokers and ex-smokers determined by [11C]ABP688 positron emission tomography.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110: 737-42

Selected lectures, seminars, colloquia

Talks on the neurobiology, pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy of mood and anxiety disorders at national and international meetings (ACNP, CINP, ECNP, SBP, ISAD, WPA).


  • Swiss National Foundation
  • Novartis