Associate director
Prof. Dr. rer. nat.

Harald ­

  • + 49 201 723 4502

Curriculum Vitae

Harald Engler is Full Professor and Head of Laboratory at the Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Immunobiology, Essen University Hospital. He studied biology with an emphasis on animal physiology at the University of Bayreuth. After obtaining his PhD, he worked from 2002 until 2004 as a postdoctoral fellow at the Laboratory of Neuroendocrine Immunology, The Ohio State University, Columbus (USA). In 2004, he joined the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Immunobiology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, where he started his research on immune-to-brain communication. In 2008, he moved as a group leader to the Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Immunobiology, University Hospital Essen, where he obtained the venia legendi in Behavioral Immunobiology. In 2019, he was appointed as Full Professor for Behavioral Immunobiology at the Medical Faculty of the University of Duisburg-Essen.


The primary focus of my translational research is on functional brain-immune interactions with a special emphasis on the role of inflammation in the etiology and pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. Another focus of my research group is on the regulation of immune responses by neurotransmitters and hormones.

Research projects

The impact of inflammation on fear extinction
Funding: SFB 1280, subproject A12 (project ID: 316803389)

Neurobiological mechanisms of negative treatment expectation
Funding: TRR 289, subproject A10 (project ID: 422744262)

Overarching psychometric and neuroendocrine assessments
Funding: TRR 289, central scientific project Z02 (project ID: 422744262)

Inflammation and mood
Intramural Funding of the Medical Faculty of the University of Duisburg-Essen (IFORES)

Animal models of neuropsychiatric disease
Funding: DFG EN 814/2-1 (project ID: 264577147)

Selected publications

Lasselin J, Lekander M, Benson S, Schedlowski M, Engler H (2020). Sick for science: experimental endotoxemia as a translational tool to develop and test new therapies for inflammation-associated depression. Mol Psychiatry. Online ahead of print.

Benson S, Rebernik L, Pastoors D, Brinkhoff A, Wegner A, Elsenbruch S, Engler H (2020). Impact of acute inflammation on the extinction of aversive gut memories. Brain Behav Immun. 88: 294-301.

Engler H, Elsenbruch S, Rebernik L, Köcke J, Cramer H, Schöls M, Langhorst J (2018). Stress burden and neuroendocrine regulation of cytokine production in patients with ulcerative colitis in remission. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 98: 101-107.

Engler H, Brendt P, Wischermann J, Wegner A, Röhling R, Schoemberg T, Meyer U, Gold R, Peters J, Benson S, Schedlowski M (2017). Selective increase of cerebrospinal fluid IL-6 during experimental systemic inflammation in humans: association with depressive symptoms. Mol Psychiatry. 22: 1448-1454.

Giovanoli S, Weber-Stadlbauer U, Schedlowski M, Meyer U, Engler H (2016). Prenatal immune activation causes hippocampal synaptic deficits in the absence of overt microglia anomalies. Brain Behav Immun. 55: 25-38.

Engler H, Benson S, Wegner A, Spreitzer I, Schedlowski M, Elsenbruch S (2016). Men and women differ in inflammatory and neuroendocrine responses to endotoxin but not in the severity of sickness symptoms. Brain Behav Immun. 52: 18-26.

Giovanoli S, Engler H, Engler A, Richetto J, Voget M, Willi R, Winter C, Riva MA, Mortensen PB, Feldon J, Schedlowski M, Meyer U (2013). Stress in puberty unmasks latent neuropathological consequences of prenatal immune activation in mice. Science. 339: 1095-1099.

About us

The Institute of Medical Psychology was founded in 1978 and is one of the pre-clinical Departments of the Essen University Hospital.


  • Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Immunobiology
    University Hospital Essen
    Hufelandstr. 55
    45122 Essen


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