Franz X. Vollenweider

Prof. Dr. med. Franz X. Vollenweider
Co-Director Center for Psychiatric Research                     Director Neuropsychopharmacology and Brain Imaging     & Heffter Research Center

Biography and Research Focus

Dr. Franz X. Vollenweider is currently Co-Director of the Center for Psychiatric Research, Director of the Neuropsychopharmacology and Brain Imaging Unit, and Professor of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine, University of Zurich. He is also the Director of the Heffter Research Center Zürich for Consciousness Studies (HRC-ZH), which he founded in 1998 and incorporated in his research group.

Dr. Vollenweider received his MD degree at the University of Zurich. He completed his doctoral thesis in experimental medicine at the Institute of Toxicology of the University and ETH of Zurich, was trained in neurochemistry at the Brain Research Institute of the University of Zurich, and in neuroimaging at the PET Centre of the PSI-ETH. In 1994 he became certified in the specialities of psychiatry and psychotherapy. His research interests encompass the area of psychopathology, cognitive neuroscience, and behavioural psychopharmacology of psychotic and affective disorders.

Current research focuses on the investigation of the functional networks and transmitter dynamics underlying the experience of self, visual perception, cognitive and emotional processes and the dysfunctions of these processes in human models of psychoses and psychiatric patients. Multiple approaches including measures of information processing, event-related potentials, and brain imaging techniques are used for studying these functions.

Dr. Vollenweider has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers, many of which addressing the mechanisms of action of psychostimulants, hallucinogens, and entactogens in humans. His research is supported by multiple grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swiss Federal Health Office, and the Heffter Research Institute (USA), and by multiple AWARDS from the NARSAD and the Fetzer Research Institute USA. He has received the Achievement Award of the Swiss Society of Psychiatry (1990), the Heffter Research Institute Award (1997), the Götz Prize of the University of Zurich (2000), and the British Association of Psychopharmacology Prize (2002).