Current Extramural Competitive Funding:

European Commission: The Human Brain Project - FET Flagship 
Start Date: October 2013 (PI: Alois Saria, Management Subproject, Education coordination)

European Commission: Optimization of Treatment and Management of Schizophrenia in Europe (OPTiMiSE)

Programme acronym: FP7-HEALTH
Subprogramme area: 
HEALTH-2009-2.2.1-3 Optimising current therapeutic approaches to schizophrenia
Contract type: 
Large-scale integrating project
(PI: W. Wolfgang Fleischhacker, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Contributor: Alois Saria, quantitative drug monitoring, Experimental Psychiatry Unit)

Austrian Science Fund W1206 - Graduate School: Signal Processing in Neurons
(Speaker: Georg Dechant, Institute for Neuroscience, PI: Alois Saria Associated PI: Gerald Zernig)

Jubiläumsfonds der Universitaet Innsbruck und der Medizinischen Universitaet Innsbruck zur Foerderung wissenschaftlicher Kooperationsprojekte: Mouse lines selectively bred for high anxiety show enhanced cocaine preference (PI: Gerald Zernig)

Austrian Science Fund T758-BBL (Hertha Firnberg Grant)
Drug vs. natural reward intra-cellular pathways
(PI Rana El Rawas)

Austrian Science Fund P27852-B21 
(PI Rana El Rawas)


Austrian Science Fund P 23824-B18: Neurobiology of Social Interaction as Alternative for Drugs of Abuse
(PI: Rana El Rawas/Alois Saria)

European Commission: The Human Brain Project - Preparatory Study (HBP)

Programme acronym: 
Subprogramme area: 
ICT-2011.9.5 FET Flagship Initiative Preparatory Actions
Contract type: 
Coordination and support actions
(PI: Alois Saria)

Recent Publications:

The Two Faces of Social Interaction Reward in Animal Models of Drug Dependence.
El Rawas R, Saria A.
Neurochem Res. 2015 Jun 19. [Epub ahead of print]

Dyadic social interaction inhibits cocaine-conditioned place preference and the associated activation of the accumbens corridor.
Zernig G, Pinheiro BS.
Behav Pharmacol. 2015 Sep;26(6):580-94.

Social interaction reward decreases p38 activation in the nucleus accumbens shell of rats.
Salti A, Kummer KK, Sadangi C, Dechant G, Saria A, El Rawas R.
Neuropharmacology. 2015 Dec;99:510-6. 

Ketamine-Induced Modulation of the Thalamo-Cortical Network in Healthy Volunteers As a Model for Schizophrenia.

Höflich A, Hahn A, Küblböck M, Kranz GS, Vanicek T, Windischberger C, Saria A, Kasper S, Winkler D, Lanzenberger R.

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015 Apr 19. pii: pyv040. doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyv040. [Epub ahead of print]

Social interaction and cocaine conditioning in mice increase spontaneous spike frequency in the nucleus accumbens or septal nuclei as revealed by multielectrode array recordings.

Kummer KK, El Rawas R, Kress M, Saria A, Zernig G.

Pharmacology. 2015;95(1-2):42-9. doi: 10.1159/000370314. Epub 2015 Jan 14.

Increased conditioned place preference for cocaine in high anxiety related behavior (HAB) mice is associated with an increased activation in the accumbens corridor.

Prast JM, Schardl A, Sartori SB, Singewald N, Saria A, Zernig G.

Front Behav Neurosci. 2014 Dec 22;8:441. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00441. eCollection 2014.

Reacquisition of cocaine conditioned place preference and its inhibition by previous social interaction preferentially affect D1-medium spiny neurons in the accumbens corridor.

Prast JM, Schardl A, Schwarzer C, Dechant G, Saria A, Zernig G.

Front Behav Neurosci. 2014 Sep 24;8:317. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00317. eCollection 2014.

Perinatal use of aripiprazole: plasma levels, placental transfer, and child outcome in 3 new cases.

Windhager E, Kim SW, Saria A, Zauner K, Amminger PG, Klier CM.

J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2014 Oct;34(5):637-41. doi: 10.1097/JCP.0000000000000171.

Whole-exome sequencing identifies a polymorphism in the BMP5 gene associated with SSRI treatment response in major depression.

Tammiste A, Jiang T, Fischer K, Mägi R, Krjutškov K, Pettai K, Esko T, Li Y, Tansey KE, Carroll LS, Uher R, McGuffin P, Võsa U, Tšernikova N, Saria A, Ng PC, Eller T, Vasar V, Nutt DJ, Maron E, Wang J, Metspalu A.

J Psychopharmacol. 2013 Oct;27(10):915-20. doi: 10.1177/0269881113499829. Epub 2013 Aug 7.

El Rawas R, Klement S, Salti A, Fritz M, Dechant G, Saria A, Zernig G.

Preventive role of social interaction for cocaine conditioned place preference:

correlation with FosB/DeltaFosB and pCREB expression in rat mesocorticolimbic

areas. Front Behav Neurosci. 2012;6:8. Epub 2012 Mar 2. PubMed PMID: 22403532;

PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3291868

Crespo JA, Stöckl P, Ueberall F, Jenny M, Saria A, Zernig G. Activation of

PKCzeta and PKMzeta in the nucleus accumbens core is necessary for the retrieval,

consolidation and reconsolidation of drug memory. PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e30502.

Epub 2012 Feb 10. PubMed PMID: 22348011; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3277594.

Markram, H (Markram, Henry); Meier, K (Meier, Karlheinz); Lippert, T (Lippert, Thomas); Grillner, S (Grillner, Sten); Frackowiak, R(Frackowiak, Richard); Dehaene, S (Dehaene, Stanislas); Knoll, A (Knoll, Alois); Sompolinsky, H (Sompolinsky, Haim); Verstreken, K(Verstreken, Kris); DeFelipe, J (DeFelipe, Javier); Grant, S (Grant, Seth); Changeux, JP (Changeux, Jean-Pierre); Saria, A (Saria, Alois)

Introducing the Human Brain Project

Editor(s): Giacobino, E; Pfeifer, RPROCEEDINGS OF THE 2ND EUROPEAN FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION 2011 (FET 11)  Book Series: Procedia Computer Science   Volume: 7   Pages: 39-42, 2011  DOI: 10.1016/j.procs.2011.12.01

Kummer K, Klement S, Eggart V, Mayr MJ, Saria A, Zernig G. Conditioned place

preference for social interaction in rats: contribution of sensory components.

Front Behav Neurosci. 2011;5:80. Epub 2011 Nov 30. PubMed PMID: 22232578; PubMed 

Central PMCID: PMC3246900.

Hiemke C, Baumann P, Bergemann N, Conca A, Dietmaier O, Egberts K, Fric M,

Gerlach M, Greiner C, Gründer G, Haen E, Havemann-Reinecke U, Jaquenoud Sirot E, 

Kirchherr H, Laux G, Lutz UC, Messer T, Müller MJ, Pfuhlmann B, Rambeck B,

Riederer P, Schoppek B, Stingl J, Uhr M, Ulrich S, Waschgler R, Zernig G. AGNP

consensus guidelines for therapeutic drug monitoring in psychiatry: update 2011. 

Pharmacopsychiatry. 2011 Sep;44(6):195-235. Review. PubMed PMID: 22053351.

Fritz M, El Rawas R, Klement S, Kummer K, Mayr MJ, Eggart V, Salti A, Bardo

MT, Saria A, Zernig G. Differential effects of accumbens core vs. shell lesions

in a rat concurrent conditioned place preference paradigm for cocaine vs. social 

interaction. PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26761. Epub 2011 Oct 26. PubMed PMID:

22046347; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3202564.

Hiemke C, Baumann P, Bergemann N, Conca A, Dietmaier O, Egberts K, Fric M,

Gerlach M, Greiner C, Gründer G, Haen E, Havemann-Reinecke U, Jaquenoud Sirot E, 

Kirchherr H, Laux G, Lutz UC, Messer T, Müller MJ, Pfuhlmann B, Rambeck B,

Riederer P, Schoppek B, Stingl J, Uhr M, Ulrich S, Waschgler R, Zernig G. AGNP

Consensus Guidelines for Therapeutic Drug Monitoring in Psychiatry: Update 2011. 

Pharmacopsychiatry. 2011 Sep;44(6):195-235. Epub 2011 Sep 27. PubMed PMID:


Veselinović T, Schorn H, Vernaleken I, Schiffl K, Hiemke C, Zernig G, Gur R,

Gründer G. Effects of antipsychotic treatment on psychopathology and motor

symptoms. A placebo-controlled study in healthy volunteers. Psychopharmacology

(Berl). 2011 Dec;218(4):733-48. Epub 2011 Jun 4. PubMed PMID: 21643673.

Eggart V, Hiemke C, Zernig G. "There is no dose-response relationship in

psychopharmacotherapy" vs "pharmacotherapy in psychiatry is based on

ligand-receptor interaction": a unifying hypothesis and the need for plasma

concentration based clinical trials. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011

Sep;217(2):297-300. Epub 2011 May 4. PubMed PMID: 21537937.

Fritz M, El Rawas R, Salti A, Klement S, Bardo MT, Kemmler G, Dechant G, Saria

A, Zernig G. Reversal of cocaine-conditioned place preference and

mesocorticolimbic Zif268 expression by social interaction in rats. Addict Biol.

2011 Apr;16(2):273-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1369-1600.2010.00285.x. Epub 2011 Feb 11.

PubMed PMID: 21309948.

Fritz M, Klement S, El Rawas R, Saria A, Zernig G. Sigma1 receptor antagonist

BD1047 enhances reversal of conditioned place preference from cocaine to social

interaction. Pharmacology. 2011;87(1-2):45-8. Epub 2010 Dec 29. PubMed PMID:


Nazirizadeh Y, Vogel F, Bader W, Haen E, Pfuhlmann B, Gründer G, Paulzen M,

Schwarz M, Zernig G, Hiemke C. Serum concentrations of paliperidone versus

risperidone and clinical effects. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2010 Aug;66(8):797-803.

Epub 2010 Apr 1. PubMed PMID: 20358189.


Fritz M, Wallner R, Grohs U, Kemmler G, Saria A, Zernig G. Comparable

sensitivities of urine cotinine and breath carbon monoxide at follow-up time

points of three months or more in a smoking cessation trial. Pharmacology.

2010;85(4):234-40. Epub 2010 Mar 17. PubMed PMID: 20299823.


Chenu F, Batten LA, Zernig G, Ladstaetter E, Höbert C, Blier P. Comparison of

pharmacokinetic profiles of brand-name and generic formulations of citalopram and

venlafaxine: a crossover study. J Clin Psychiatry. 2009 Jul;70(7):958-66. PubMed

PMID: 19653973.


Kasture S, Vinci S, Ibba F, Puddu A, Marongiu M, Murali B, Pisanu A, Lecca D,

Zernig G, Acquas E. Withania somnifera prevents morphine withdrawal-induced

decrease in spine density in nucleus accumbens shell of rats: a confocal laser

scanning microscopy study. Neurotox Res. 2009 Nov;16(4):343-55. Epub 2009 Jun 24.

PubMed PMID: 19551457.


Zernig G, Wallner R, Grohs U, Kriechbaum N, Kemmler G, Saria A. A randomized

trial of short psychotherapy versus sustained-release bupropion for smoking

cessation. Addiction. 2008 Dec;103(12):2024-31. PubMed PMID: 19469746.


Kohut SJ, Roma PG, Davis CM, Zernig G, Saria A, Dominguez JM, Rice KC, Riley

AL. The impact of early environmental rearing condition on the discriminative

stimulus effects and Fos expression induced by cocaine in adult male and female

rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009 Apr;203(2):383-97. Epub 2008 Oct 25. PubMed

PMID: 18953528; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2661818.


Becker A, Grecksch G, Zernig G, Ladstaetter E, Hiemke C, Schmitt U.

Haloperidol and risperidone have specific effects on altered pain sensitivity in

the ketamine model of schizophrenia. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009

Mar;202(4):579-87. Epub 2008 Sep 23. PubMed PMID: 18810393.


Whitworth A, Stuppaeck C, Yazdi K, Kralovec K, Geretsegger C, Zernig G,

Aichhorn W. Olanzapine and breast-feeding: changes of plasma concentrations of

olanzapine in a breast-fed infant over a period of 5 months. J Psychopharmacol.

2010 Jan;24(1):121-3. Epub 2008 Sep 18. PubMed PMID: 18801835.


Rygula R, Abumaria N, Havemann-Reinecke U, Röther E, Hiemke C, Zernig G, Fuchs

E, Flügge G. Pharmacological validation of a chronic social stress model of

depression in rats: effects of reboxetine, haloperidol and diazepam. Behav

Pharmacol. 2008 May;19(3):183-96. PubMed PMID: 18469536.


Crespo JA, Stöckl P, Zorn K, Saria A, Zernig G. Nucleus accumbens core

acetylcholine is preferentially activated during acquisition of drug- vs

food-reinforced behavior. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008 Dec;33(13):3213-20. Epub

2008 Apr 16. PubMed PMID: 18418362.


Klier CM, Mossaheb N, Saria A, Schloegelhofer M, Zernig G. Pharmacokinetics

and elimination of quetiapine, venlafaxine, and trazodone during pregnancy and

postpartum. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2007 Dec;27(6):720-2. PubMed PMID: 18004149.


Aichhorn W, Marksteiner J, Walch T, Zernig G, Hinterhuber H, Stuppaeck C,

Kemmler G. Age and gender effects on olanzapine and risperidone plasma

concentrations in children and adolescents. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2007

Oct;17(5):665-74. PubMed PMID: 17979586.


Zernig G, Ahmed SH, Cardinal RN, Morgan D, Acquas E, Foltin RW, Vezina P,

Negus SS, Crespo JA, Stöckl P, Grubinger P, Madlung E, Haring C, Kurz M, Saria A.

Explaining the escalation of drug use in substance dependence: models and

appropriate animal laboratory tests. Pharmacology. 2007;80(2-3):65-119. Epub 2007

Jun 14. Review. PubMed PMID: 17570954.


Acquas E, Pisanu A, Spiga S, Plumitallo A, Zernig G, Di Chiara G.

Differential effects of intravenous R,S-(+/-)-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine

(MDMA, Ecstasy) and its S(+)- and R(-)-enantiomers on dopamine transmission and

extracellular signal regulated kinase phosphorylation (pERK) in the rat nucleus

accumbens shell and core. J Neurochem. 2007 Jul;102(1):121-32. PubMed PMID:



Ulrich S, Hiemke C, Laux G, Müller-Oerlinghausen B, Havemann-Reinecke U,

Riederer P, Zernig G, Baumann P; TDM group of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft

Neuropsychopharmakologie und Pharmakopsychiatrie (AGNP). Value and actuality of

the prescription information for therapeutic drug monitoring of

psychopharmaceuticals: a comparison with the medico-scientific evidence.

Pharmacopsychiatry. 2007 May;40(3):121-7. PubMed PMID: 17541888.


Fridrich P, Colvin HP, Zizza A, Wasan AD, Lukanich J, Lirk P, Saria A, Zernig

G, Hamp T, Gerner P. Phase 1A safety assessment of intravenous amitriptyline. J

Pain. 2007 Jul;8(7):549-55. Epub 2007 May 23. PubMed PMID: 17512256; PubMed

Central PMCID: PMC2001298.


Zernig G, Ng K, Hiemke C, Saria A. Therapeutic drug monitoring-based

clozapine dosing recommendations. Ther Drug Monit. 2007 Feb;29(1):130-1. PubMed

PMID: 17304162.


Klier CM, Mossaheb N, Lee A, Zernig G. Mirtazapine and breastfeeding:

maternal and infant plasma levels. Am J Psychiatry. 2007 Feb;164(2):348-9. PubMed

PMID: 17267804.


Widschwendter CG, Zernig G, Hofer A. Quetiapine cross reactivity with urine

methadone immunoassays. Am J Psychiatry. 2007 Jan;164(1):172. PubMed PMID:



Crespo JA, Panlilio LV, Schindler CW, Sturm K, Saria A, Zernig G.

Peri-response pharmacokinetics of remifentanil during a self-administration

session indicates that neither blood nor brain levels are titrated. Ann N Y Acad

Sci. 2006 Aug;1074:497-504. PubMed PMID: 17105948.


Medja F, Lelievre V, Fontaine RH, Lebas F, Leroux P, Ouimet T, Saria A,

Rougeot C, Dournaud P, Gressens P. Thiorphan, a neutral endopeptidase inhibitor

used for diarrhoea, is neuroprotective in newborn mice. Brain. 2006 Dec;129(Pt

12):3209-23. Epub 2006 Oct 8. PubMed PMID: 17028311.


Madlung E, Haring C, Crespo JA, Saria A, Grubinger P, Zernig G. Methadone

doses upon multiple readmissions to inpatient detoxification: Clinical evidence

for very moderate opioid tolerance. Pharmacology. 2006;78(1):38-43. Epub 2006 Aug

15. PubMed PMID: 16912515.


Baumann P, Hiemke C, Ulrich S, Eckermann G, Kuss HL, Laux G,

Müller-Oerlingenhausen B, Rao ML, Riederer P, Zernig G; AGNP-TDM;

Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Neuropsychopharmakologie und Pharmakopsychiatrie (AGNP) -

Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (TDM). [Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) of

psychotropic drugs: a consensus guideline of the AGNP-TDM group]. Rev Med Suisse.

2006 May 24;2(67):1413-8, 1420-2, 1424-6. Review. French. PubMed PMID: 16786958.


Crespo JA, Sturm K, Saria A, Zernig G. Activation of muscarinic and nicotinic

acetylcholine receptors in the nucleus accumbens core is necessary for the

acquisition of drug reinforcement. J Neurosci. 2006 May 31;26(22):6004-10. PubMed

PMID: 16738243

Letzte Aktualisierung: 2016-10-20