Julia Sacher

Born in: Austria
Primary research category: Female Mental Health
Research location / employer: Clinic of Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany and Department of Clinical Neurology, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany
Fellowship dates: 2012-2018

Academic Career

During her PhD and postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Julia Sacher focused on applied neurochemical imaging, such as PET (Positron-Emission-Tomography) and fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging). In her clinical rotations and during her residency, Dr. Julia Sacher worked with patients suffering from mood disorders, and specialized on female mental health problems like postpartum depression and premenstrual dysphoria.


  • Postgraduate studies during psychiatry-residency on the neurobiology of postpartum depression, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), University of Toronto, Canada, 2006-2009


  • PhD, Institute of Pharmacology & University Clinic of Psychiatry, Medical University Vienna, Austria, 2007
  • MD, Medical University Vienna, Austria 2003

Fellowship Research

Dr. Julia Sacher uses the menstrual cycle as a model to investigate how the female brain responds to subtle hormonal changes. She applies multimodal neuroimaging techniques (PET & fMRI) to study changes in neurochemistry and neural activity in the female brain and how they relate to emotional processing and mood. The application of this multimodal approach provides much needed new data on how the female brain adapts in neurochemistry and function during the female menstrual cycle. Comparing those adaptation processes in health to the proposed heightened responsivity of a female brain vulnerable to premenstrual mood change results in a better understanding of potential mechanisms that could be targeted for a successful intervention.

Major Awards

  • Humboldt Research Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Bonn, Germany 2009
  • National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) Young Investigator Award, USA, 2008
  • Canadian Institutes for Health & Research (CIHR) Fellowship Award, 2008
  • Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship Award (FWF), Austria, 2007

Collaborative Projects with other Branco Weiss Fellows