Jakob Kaminski, Charité University Medical Center Berlin

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My first contact with brain research was already in school in biology classes. The complex biology of the brain functioning was fascinating to me because of it’s many mysteries. When deciding what to study I always wanted to do research but also wanted to work on something that is directly related to people’s lives. The challenges in medicine seemed to fit these requirements. During my first internships I was intrigued by psychiatry and schizophrenia research. There were so many open questions and riddles to solve. So I started to do brain research at the Max-Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and then started my clinical career at Charité Berlin focusing on brain research in Schizophrenia. During my clinical routine I was fascinated by the extraordinary powers and abilities patients have. Although behavior sometimes is described as "non-functional" there is an enormous creativity and resilience in people with mental disorders. The multifactorial origins of those disorders have long puzzled researchers and clinicians alike. It’s multifaceted nature presents a significant challenge, but also an opportunity for innovation and discovery.

When I started my career, I embarked on a journey to unravel the intricacies of schizophrenia. I started with cutting-edge imaging technology and the goal for better understanding the human brain during crisisNeuroimaging techniques have revolutionized our ability to explore the complexities of the brain. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Positron Emission Tomography (PET), and Functional MRI (fMRI) allow us to visualize the structure, function, and connectivity of neural circuits with unprecedented detail. These tools offer invaluable insights into the pathophysiology. I focused on alterations in glutamatergic and dopaminergic brain functioning, however, I was not completely satisfied and felt that despite decades of research, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms remain elusive, making diagnosis and treatment such a challenging task. I then delve more into the complex interaction of environmental factors and psychotic experiences. And landed in digital health to support patients in outpatient setting with innovative and effective tools. In addition to advancing our understanding of schizophrenia, technology has also revolutionized the way we support and empower patients. Digital tools and mobile applications have emerged as valuable adjuncts to traditional therapeutic approaches. These tools offer a wide range of functionalities, including symptom tracking, medication management, activation of resources and psychoeducation. One of the most significant advantages of digital tools is their ability to tailor interventions to the individual needs of patients. While the integration of digital tools into schizophrenia care holds immense promise, it is not without its challenges. Issues such as data privacy, accessibility, and the digital divide must be carefully addressed to ensure equitable access to these resources. Additionally, ongoing research is needed to validate the efficacy of these interventions and optimize their usability in clinical settings. In conclusion, the intersection of neuroimaging research and digital technology offers unprecedented opportunities to advance our understanding of schizophrenia and transform patient care. By embracing innovation and collaboration, we can navigate the challenges ahead and continue to support and empower patients during their recovery. While working in the field of schizophrenia research fostering interdisciplinary collaboration is what I enjoyed the most. 

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