Promotion of child and youth health in North Rhine-Westphalia

INTERPLAY's vision is the early promotion of child and adolescent health with direct implementation of new strategies from prevention and health services research.

ABCDE: Partners

Principle Investigators at RWTH Aachen University, Aachen

  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Beate Herpertz-Dahlmann
    Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stefan Jockenhövel
    Dept. of Biohybrid and Medical Textiles, Institute of Applied Medical Engineering
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Kerstin Konrad
    Dept.of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. med. Dr. h. c. Steffen Leonhardt
    Dept. for Medical Information Technology, Helmholtz-Institute for Biomedical Engineering
  • Prof. Dr. Klaus Tenbrock
    Dept. of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Norbert Wagner
    Dept. of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine

Principle Investigators at Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum

  • Univ.- Prof. Dr. Sigrid Elsenbruch
    Dept. of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology
  • PD Dr. Corinna Grasemann
    Dept. of Pediatrics
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Martin Holtmann
    LWL-University Hospital Hamm for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Tanja Legenbauer
    LWL-University Hospital Hamm for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Lücke
    Dept. of Pediatrics
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Konstanze Winklhofer
    Institute of Biochemistry and Pathobiochemistry

Principle Investigators at University of Cologne, Cologne

  • Jun. Prof. Dr. Dr. Miguel A. Alejandre Alcazar
    Dept. of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
  • Univ.- Prof. Dr. Stephan Bender
    Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy
  • Univ.- Prof. Dr. Jens Boenisch
    Dept. for Special Education and Rehabilitation
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Bent Brachvogel
    Dept. of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
  • Univ.- Prof. Dr. Manfred Döpfner
    Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy and School of Child and Adolescent Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Mathias Fischer
    Dept. of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
  • PD Dr. Max Liebau
    Dept. of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine
  • Univ.- Prof. Dr. Holger Pfaff
    Institute for Medical Sociology, Health Services Research and Rehabilitation Science

Principle Investigators at Heinrich-Heine University of Duesseldorf, Faculty of Medicine, Duesseldorf

  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Arndt Borkhardt
    Dept. of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Clinical Immunology
  • Prof. Dr. Felix Distelmaier
    Dept. of General Pediatrics, Neonatology and Pediatric Cardiology
  • Prof. Dr. Regina Ensenauer
    Dept. of General Pediatrics, Neonatology and Pediatric Cardiology and Dept. of Child Nutrition, Max Rubner-Institut
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ertan Mayatepek
    Dept. of General Pediatrics, Neonatology and Pediatric Cardiology
  • Prof. Roland Meisel
    Dept. of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Clinical Immunology
  • Prof. Thomas Meissner
    Dept. of General Pediatrics, Neonatology and Pediatric Cardiology
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Marc Remke
    Dept. of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Clinical Immunology

Principle Investigators at University of Duisburg-Essen, Faculty of Medicine, Essen

  • Dr. Thurid Ahlenstiel-Grunow
    Dept. of Pediatrics II
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ursula Felderhoff-Müser
    Dept. of Pediatrics I
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johannes Hebebrand
    Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • PD Dr. Josephine Herz
    Dept. of Pediatrics I
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Anke Hinney
    Dept. of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Lars Pape
    Dept. of Pediatrics II
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dirk Reinhardt
    Dept. of Pediatrics III

Principle Investigators at Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research, Cologne

  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jens Brüning
    Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

Principle Investigators at German Sports University, Cologne

  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Christine Joisten
    Dept. for Physical Activity in Public Health, Institute of Movement and Neurosciences

Principle Investigators at Federal Centre for Health Education, Cologne

  • Prof. Dr. Freia De Bock
    Dept. 2 and Director of Research at Federal Centre for Health Education

Principle Investigators at Research Center Jülich, Juelich

  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Simon Eickhoff
    Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-7)

Partners, Structures and Cooperations

We offer excellent basic researchers, clinical scientists, large patient cohorts, community hospitals, health insurers, patient representatives and access to schools.
INTERPLAY brings together 2 Clusters of Excellence, 4 Collaborative Research Centres, 2 Research Units, 2 Research Colleague and 4 Partner Institutions.

Name Location / Principle Investigators Objective and funding body
Anorexia nervosa registry A / Herpertz-Dahlmann,
B /Legenbauer, E / Hebebrand
Registry with ca. 700 Anorexia nervosa patients in Germany, Funding: intramural
RCT A / Herpertz-Dahlmann Home treatment program in anorexia nervosa, Funding: G-BA Innovation fund
PRO-KIND cohort A / Tenbrock, Wagner Worldwide largest cohort of treatment-naive patients with pediatric rheumatic diseases (app. 500 patients), Funding: G-BA Innovation fund
CEDATA A / Wagner Long term follow up of mor than 5.000 pediaric patients with inflammatory bowel disease, national register
JODA-MALTREAT database A / Konrad Joint database for studies on the effects of childhood maltreatment, Funding: BMBF
ESCAlife A / Herpertz-Dahlmann,
B / Holtmann,
C / Doepfner
Stepped Care of ADHD along the life-span, Funding: BMBF
Mighty U B / Lücke Program to support child patients in therapy through virtual reality, Funding: BMBF
CARE FAM NET´ B / Lücke,
C / Bender
E / Hebebrand
The CARE-FAM-NET (incl. > 40 consortium partners) aimed to close the existing gap in psychosocial care for families with affected children and adolescents, Funding: G-BA Innovation fund
ESG-study B/ Grasemann
E / Hebebrand, Hinney
Assessment of hormonal and nutritional status in >400 children and adolescents with depressive symptoms, Funding: intramural
European Reference Networks
MetabERN, Endo-ERN, ERK-Net, ERN-EuroBloodNet, ERN-Paedcan, ENERCA, ERN-Lung
A / B / C / D / E European Reference Networks (ERN) for metabolism, endocrinology, hematology, oncology, rare congenital anaemias, and pulmonology, Funding: EU
ADOPT C / Doepfner Optimization of prevention and therapy in patients with affective dysregulation, Funding: BMBF
B-FAST C / Bender, Doetsch Applied surveillance Covid-19 in day care centers and schools, Funding: BMBF
HSR-NICU, NEO-CamCare, and NEO-MILK C / Pfaff Implementation of health services research to improve care of very-low-birth infants in neonatal intensive care units (HSR-NICU), e.g. using webcams (NeoCamCare) or via implementation of donor milk banks and structured breastfeeding strategies (NEO-Milk), Funding: G-BA Innovation fund
National reference center for molecular diagnostics in neuroblastoma and national biobank for neuroblastoma C / Fischer Analysis of the postnatal parental-newborn skin-skin contact for stress programming, Funding: BMBF
ForMe/ ARegPKD / ADPedKD registers C / Liebau, Liebau,
E / Pape, Ahlenstiel-Grunow
Clinical characterization of patients suffering from nephrotic syndrome (ForMe) and hepatorenal diseases (ARegPKD, ADPedKD), Funding: DFG, BMBF, Marga&Walter Boll foundation, intramural
ADEBAR C / Joisten (DSHS) Obesity prevention through a nutrition- and exercise-based family program, Funding: Marga&Walter Boll foundation
CHILT-III C / Joisten (DSHS) Outpatient multidisciplinary family-based program for obese children (ca. 500), Funding: health insurance (AOK), intramural
CoRe-Net C / Pfaff Research network for the care of vulnerable patient groups with a comprehensive database containing GKV routine data of 4 cooperating german health insurances, Funding: BMBF
PARTCHILD program C / De Bock (BZgA) Improving the quality of care for children with chronic diseases and disabilities in social pediatric centers, Funding: G-BA Innovation fund
PEACHES cohort
(Programming of enhanced adiposity risk in childhood – early screening)
D / Ensenauer 1707 pairs of mothers (with pregestational obesity) and children, including biobank and biosamples. Funding: BMBF
PEPO cohort
(Perinatal prevention of obesity development)
D / Ensenauer 11,730 mother-child pairs analyzing the longitudinal effects of prepregnancy BMI and gestational weight gain on offspring. Funding: BMBF
BEARR (Breastfeeding education for risk reduction) project D / Ensenauer Extensive breastfeeding support program for obese mothers at high-risk of diabetes as an early preventive measure for mother and child. Funding: Foundation for Cardiovascular Prevention in Childhood, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
COACH. Chronic Conditions in Adolescents: Implementation and Evaluation of Patient-centred Collaborative Health Care D / Meissner Motivational Interviewing as a tool to enhance access to mental health treatment in adolescents with chronic medical conditions and need for psychological support (COACH-MI); Funding: BMBF
Preterm Follow-up cohort (partner of GNN) E / Felderhoff-Müser > 1000 preterm born infants (<32 weeks gestation) with MRI at TEA (>1100 scans), aEEG in the first 72hrs of life, GMA, HINE etc., and long-term neurodevelopmental follow-up. Funding: Mercator, BMBF
NEOCYST (Network for early onset cystic kidney disease) E / Pape
C / Liebau
NEOCYST network aimed to improve knowledge of the genetics, molecular pathophysiology, and long-term prognosis of cystic kidney disease, Funding: BMBF
Active Onco Kids network E / Reinhardt, C /Fischer Large German Cancer Aid-funded national network to promote and evaluate the benefits of sports in severe and chronic diseases, Funding: German Cancer Aid
TELE-KASPER E / PI Felderhoff-Müser Antibiotic Stewardship in Pediatrics – interprofessional telemedicine network, Funding: G-BA Innovation fund
CARE for CAYA project E / Reinhardt Prevention program for young patients after surviving cancer in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, Funding: G-BA Innovation fund
KTX360° E / Ahlenstiel-Grunow, Pape A multicenter, multisectoral, multimodal, telemedicine-based followup care model to improve care and reduce health care costs after kidney transplantation in children and adults, Funding: G-BA Innovation fund
Name Location / Principle Investigators Project title
CRC 1382
Gut-liver axis
A / Wagner Coordination of gut-liver communication by directed immune cell migration (B02)
CRC 1280
Extinction learning
B / Elsenbruch From Pavlov to pain: extinction learning in visceral pain (A10)
The impact of inflammation on the extinction of pain-related fear in humans (A12)
Treatment expectation
B / Elsenbruch Effects of negative expectations on visceroception and visceral pain (TP04)
Mechanisms of drug sensitivity and resistance in small cell lung cancer
C / Fischer Targeting telomere maintenance mechanisms in SCLC (A03)
CRC 1451
Motor control
C / Bender Multidimensional aspects including the development of motor control
iRTG 2150 A / Konrad, Eickhoff (RCJ) The Neuroscience of Modulating Aggression and Impulsivity in Psychopathology
RTG 2576 D / Ensenauer In vivo investigations towards the early development of type 2 diabetes (vivid)
RU FOR2722
Musculoskeletal extracellular matrix
C / Brachvogel, Dötsch Mitochondrial dysfunction in cartilage and its consequences for ECM and joint homeostasis (M1); Musculoskeletal ECM-induced reprogramming of the metabolic system (M2)
CRU 337
Phenotypic therapy and immune escape in cancer (PhenoTime)
D / Remke Identification and functional characterization of long non-coding RNAs as epigenetic determinants of therapy resistance in BRAF-driven cancers (P6)
Excellence Cluster
B / Winklhofer Cellular quality control and stress response pathways in neurodegeneration
Excellence Cluster
C / Alejandre Alcazar, Brüning Metabolic origins of premature ageing of the lung (Alejandre Alcazar); Regulation of food intake and influences energy availability in the body (Brüning)
West German Genome Center (WGGC) A / C / D/ E DFG-funded collaborative network, one of four national Next Generation Sequencing Competence Centers
Leibniz Center for Diabetes Research D / Meissner State-of-the-art research center for diabetes.
Institute of Human Genetics D / Borkhardt Analysis of genetic causes of disease
Dept.s of Computational Cancer Biology, Translational Genomics and Institute for Pathology C / Fischer Computer-based analyses of the tumor biology and micro-environment.
Seven collaborating community-based hospitals for Pediatrics and Child&Adolescent Medicine in NRW ABCDE / INTERPLAY Within NRW, six Clinics for pediatrics or Clinics for child & adolescent psychiatry committed to collaborate in ongoing and future patient’s cohorts and research activities in INTERPLAY.
Bielefeld (;
Cologne (;
Dortmund (;
Duesseldorf (;
Krefeld (;
Minden (;
Viersen (
Regional state youth welfare organizations ABCDE / INTERPLAY Both regional state youth welfare organizations support INTERPLAY
LVR-Regional Children (; LWL-Regional (
Name Location / Principle Investigators Project title
German Diabetes Centre (DZD) C / Brüning
German Centre for Lung Research (DZL) C / Alejandre Alcazar Converging signaling pathways in neonatal lung regeneration
German Cancer Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK) D/ Marc Remke Pediatric Neuro-Oncogenomics
Max Rubner-Institut (MRI) - Federal Research Institute of Nutrition and Food D / Ensenauer (Head of the Dept. of Child Nutrition) Developmental origins of obesity and nutrition-related diseases
TU Munich and Leibniz-Institute for Food Systems Biology D / Ensenauer Developmental origins of obesity and nutrition-related diseases
German Neonatal Network (GNN) E / Felderhoff-Müser Early markes for neurological outcome of preterm infants
German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) E / Felderhoff-Müser Cardiovascular complication in pregnancy – neurodevelopmental outcome
NAKO Working Group “Birth Cohort” Speaker: Dr. Börge Schmidt
E/ Felderhoff-Müser The German National Cohort (NAKO) is a large-scale cohort study that investigates risk factors for a broad range of diseases (~200.000 participants aged 20-70 years; 18 study regions in Germany).
Four health insurances:
AOK Rheinland/Hamburg (;
Barmer (;
DAK (;
IKK (;
TK (
ABCDE / INTERPLAY partner-site These health insurances have confirmed their interest in collaborating with INTERPLAY, e.g. by providing access to diseases information, expanding structures such as CoRe-Net (Table 2) or supporting advisory boards (Fig. 10).
Seven patients’ organizations ABCDE / INTERPLAY European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI;; German Rheumatism League NRW (; German Crohn's disease /Ulcerative colitis association (; rehaKIND (; ADHD association (; Löwenstern (support for children with cancer;; Child Protection Association (
Name University Hospital Project title
European Network on Hyperkinetic Disorders (EUNETHYDIS) A / Konrad, B / Holtmann, C / Doepfner Hyperkinetic disorders in children and adolescents
Connect4children B / Lücke
E / Felderhoff-Müser
Collaborative European network that aims to facilitate the development of new drugs and other therapies for the entire paediatric population
CERTAIN-Regsitry for Kidney and liver transplantation E / Pape
C / Liebau
Co-Lead of Cooperative European Paediatric Renal Transplant Initiative
ARegPKD C / Liebau European network of paediatric nephrologists from 15 European countries in cooperation with geneticists collect clinical data of patients with ARPKD.
European ADHD Guidelines Group (EAGG) B / Holtmann,
C / Doepfner
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents
CCB&B Development C / Boenisch Development of bilingual communication boards for students with complex communication needs.
LEGEND (Leukemia Gene Discovery) EU framework D / Borkhardt Identification of genetic variants that confer susceptibility for pediatric leukemia or lymphoma development
Harmony Alliance D / Borkhardt, Meisel
E / Reinhardt
European Public-Private Partnership for big data in hematology
EU PREMSTEM consortium E / Felderhoff-Müser Mechanisms of stem cell therapy on different models of brain damage in premature infants
ENERCA E / Reinhardt European network for rare and congenital anaemias
Pediatric Acute Leukemia (PedAL)/European Pediatric Acute Leukemia (EuPAL) Initiative E / Reinhardt (Director of the consortium) Pediatric Acute Leukemia Initiative
Innovative Therapies for Children with Cancer Paediatric Preclinical Proof-of-concept Platform (ITCC) E / Reinhardt Development and establishment of preclinical models of high-risk pediatric solid tumors
EuRR-BONE; Registry of the ERN BOND B / Grasemann Development and establishment of a European Registry for Rare Bone Diseases
  • Priorities of research of INTERPLAY
    • Pre- and perinatal origins
    • Chronification processes
    • Gene-environment interactions in tumor development, therapy, and comorbidities
    • Interaction of somatic and mental health
    • Prevention and health services research
    • Innovative medical technologies
    • .
  • Mission of INTERPLAY
    • INTERPLAY aims to decode the mechanisms of development and chronification of somatic and mental diseases and their interaction in 6 research areas.
    • Establish a VIRTUAL platform as a communication platform and an academy for young researchers.
    • Development of a risk assessment for chronic diseases and early prevention and treatment strategies.
    • Early promotion of child and youth health with direct implementation of our new strategies in the interplay between chronic diseases and physical and mental development.
    • The development and implementation of new intervention strategies.
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