About Cimbi

Research Aims

The overall aim of Cimbi has been to uncover basic questions regarding interindividual differences in behavior and personality in healthy people with a particular emphasis on phenotypical variations that are likely to be causally related to variations in the serotonergic transmitter system. Individual differences in trait effect and personality are for a large part genetically determined and they are critical in shaping complex human behavior, social interplay and also in overcoming challenges from the ever-changing environments. Such individual differences may also serve as important predictors of vulnerability to neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety and memory disorders.

Neuroimaging studies, including molecular, structural and functional MRI studies have been used to uncover the neural substrates of interindividual variability with a particular emphasis on the serotonergic transmitter system. At the same time, genetic variation has been considered as an important component substantially adding to interindividual variability.

In the first life cycle of Cimbi (Cimbi-I, 2006-10) we have demonstrated a number of relevant and meaningful associations. These studies illustrated the predictive links between genetic or trait-like behaviors (e.g., trait neuroticism) on one hand and regional brain structure, activation and serotonergic markers on the other hand. Such correlation studies were useful and informative, and they provided us with neuroimaging biomarkers of disease susceptibility and suggested causal links.

In the second operative period of the Center (Cimbi-II, 2011-2015) we focused on longitudinal and interventional studies in order to better address causal relationships and to substantiate the predictive value of brain imaging as biomarkers. Specifically, Cimbi-II operated with five interacting themes of relevance for the serotonergic transmitter system: Mood and Emotions, Biorhythms, Affective Cognition, Brain Development, and Decision-making. In addition, two platforms were included, one for radioligand development and validation, and another for data analysis.