The MBMRC Team

Curious who is behind the MBMRC? Let us introduce ourselves to you.

Tobias Esch, M.D.


Tobias Esch, M.D., MBMRC-Co-Chair, is a tenured Professor of Medicine and Director of the Institute of Integrative Health Care and Health Promotion at Witten/Herdecke University, Germany. He is a former Visiting Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice (The Commonwealth Fund, New York). With his background in neurobiology/neuroscience and health psychology and primary care, Esch focuses his work on integrative health promotion, especially Mind-Body Medicine, and patient empowerment.

George Stefano, Ph.D.


George Stefano, Ph.D., MBMRC-Co-Chair, Department of Psychiatry, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and General University Hospital in Prague, Czech Republic and Distinguished Prof. Emeritus at State University of New York. He also acted as the former Director of Basic Research at the Mind/Body Medical Institute (now Benson-Henry Institute) at Harvard Medical School. He has an outstanding expertise and highest accomplishments particularly in the field of neurobiology and behavioral neuroscience.

Dr. rer. medic. Dr. rer. oec. Maren M. Michaelsen


Dr. Dr. Maren M. MichaelsenMBMRC Project Lead, is postdoctoral researcher and head of research at the Institute of Integrative Health Care and Health Promotion at Witten/Herdecke University, Germany. She is an active meditator und teacher of mind-body practices. With her background in health economics and behavioral sciences, Michaelsen focuses on health behavior change and mindfulness as elements of integrative health promotion. She conducts theoretical and empirical research in the field of Mind-Body Medicine with the aim to strengthen health competence in various population groups.

Prof. PhDr. Radek Ptáček, Ph.D., MBA


Prof. PhDr. Radek Ptáček, Ph.D., MBA clinical psychologist and the first professor of medical psychology in the Czech Republic. He also worked as a forensic psychologist for many years. His research is focused on the broadest issues of health psychology and medical psychology. He works as a professor at the Psychiatric Clinic of the 1st Faculty of Medicine of Charles University and the General Hospital in Prague. His research group has a long-term focus on the issue of lifestyle and mental disorders, burnout syndrome. ADHD is also a major research topic in the context of topics such as physical growth, diet and lifestyle, perception of time and sleep. He is the author of the most extensive series of monographs in the field of medical ethics and psychology, which as of this year has 13 monographs. 

Pascal Büttiker, MSc


Pascal Büttiker, MSc, is a researcher and PhD candidate in the field of medical Psychology at the Department of Psychiatry, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University and General University Hospital in Prague. He is a psychologist formally recognized by the Swiss confederation with an ongoing MAS in cognitive behavioral therapy and behavioral medicine. With a postgraduate degree in cognitive science and philosophy of mind, he specializes in perception generation with a distinct focus on the neurocognitive effects of virus infections and the underlying biological mechanisms. As a clinical practitioner at a psychiatric hospital, Pascal is eager to find ways to integrate novel scientific findings in the treatment of long COVID patients with neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Dr. rer. nat. Franziska Melanie Collmann


Dr. Franziska Melanie Collmann, MBMRC Conference Organization, is postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Integrative Health Care and Health Promotion at Witten/Herdecke University, Germany. She is the main point of contact in the organization of the upcoming International MBM Conference.

With her background in Biomedicine, Franziska is passionate about holistic approaches for a healthy life – both with regards to the fascinating aspect of the body and the mind. As a certified Yoga teacher and Systemic Coach, she combines mindfulness, body and mind into her daily work. Based on her fascination for the Mind-Body Medicine she is grateful to deepen her knowledge by contributing to related research projects.

Jil Herker, MSc


Jil Herker, MSc, MBMRC Web Management, is researcher at the Institute of Integrative Health Care and Health Promotion at Witten/Herdecke University, Germany.  

As a psychologist, she is interested in the psychological perspective on health promotion. Additionally, she maintains our website and newsletter.

Helena Müller-Peters, BSc

Helena Müller-Peters, BSc, is working as a student assistant in the preparation of the upcoming International Congress on MBM Research.  After completing her Bachelor's degree in Organic Agriculture, she is currently studying Psychology at the University of Witten/Herdecke.

Within MBM research, she is particularly fascinated by the investigation of the effects of nutrition and mindfulness practice on health care.



Maja Figura, Bsc

MBMRC intern text and coordination (
March & April 2023)

Maja Figura, Bsc, is a mind-body medicine therapist currently finishing her MScPH.

Her area of interest is to make the latest scientific findings of mind-body medicine available to the public. She draws on many years of experience in teaching mindfulness techniques such as Yoga.


The Hosting Institute

The Mind-Body Medicine Research Concil has been founded by the Insitute for Integrative Health Care and Health Promotion 

The Institute for Integrative Health Care and Health Promotion (IGVF), Faculty of Health/School of Medicine at Witten/Herdecke University, Germany focuses its attention on improving primary health care and increasing the effectiveness of health promotion efforts for patients. While the implications of our research findings certainly contribute to improving health outcomes at the population level, our focus remains on the individual and his or her personal resources and the pathways through which protective (salutogenetic) factors – including, but not limited to, resilience, self-efficacy, self-care and -healing, and the motivation to improve one’s personal health behaviors – can be activated and strengthened.

For this, we apply basic and applied sciences, from neurobiology to general health research, including integrative as well as mind/body medicine (MBM). Tobias Esch, a university professor, researcher, and physician, serves as the institute’s director and has founded the university’s outpatient clinic in general medicine, thus closing the gap between rigorous research and patient-focused practice, and ensuring that the research conducted remains clinically relevant to patients.

Our research efforts are driven by a team of researchers and health care practitioners from a wide spectrum of disciplines who work closely and effectively with one another. Witnessing the successful fusion of research and practice at the institute has led us to pursue additional and similarly fruitful collaborations.

Recent publications of MBMRC members


Büttiker, P., Weissenberger, S., Esch, T., Anders, M., Raboch, J., Ptacek, R., Kream,& R. M., & Stefano, G.B. (2023). Dysfunctional mitochondrial processes contribute to energy perturbations in the brain and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Front. Pharmacol. 13:1095923.

Esch, T., Welzer, H., Utsch, M., & Donner, S. (2023). PSYCHOLOGIE HEUTE - Bei sich ankommen. 13-21.

Michaelsen, M. M., Ecken, T. S., Herker, J. & Esch, T. (2023). Achtsamkeit & Ernährung - Neurobiologische Mechanismen achtsamen Essens. Sportärztezeitung, 4, 90–95.

Michaelsen, M. M., & Esch, T. (2023). Understanding health behavior change by motivation and reward mechanisms: a review of the literature. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 17.

Michaelsen, M. M., Graser, J., Onescheit, M., Tuma, M. P., Werdecker, L., Pieper, D., & Esch, T. (2023). Mindfulness-based and mindfulness-informed interventions at the workplace: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis of RCTS. Mindfulness.

Poslt Königová, M., Sebalo Vňuková, M., Řehořková, P., Anders, M., & Ptáček, R. (2023). The effectiveness of gluten-free dietary interventions: A systematic review. Frontiers in Psychology, 14, 1107022.

Sebalo Vňuková, M., Sebalo, I., Anders, M., Ptáček, R., & Surman, C. (2023). Psychometric Properties of the Czech Version of the Vanderbilt ADHD Diagnostic Parent Rating Scale. Journal of Attention Disorders, 10870547231167567.

Smetackova, I., Ptacek, R., Vnukova, M., & Dechterenko, F. (2023). The impact of ADHD in an individual's daily life on planning, coping and time perspective. Ceskoslovenska Psychologie, 67(1), 15-29.

Stefano, G. B. (2023). Artificial Intelligence as a Tool for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases. Brain Sciences, 13(6), 938.

Stefano, G. B., Büttiker, P., Weissenberger, S., Anders, M., Raboch, J., Ptacek, R., & Kream, R. M. (2023). Potential Prion Involvement in Long COVID-19 Neuropathology, Including Behavior. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, 1-6.

Stefano, G. B., Büttiker, P., Weissenberger, S., Esch, T., Anders, M., Raboch, J., Kream, R. M., & Ptacek, R. (2023). Independent and sensory human mitochondrial
functions reflecting symbiotic evolution. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 13.

Stefano, G. B., Büttiker, P. Weissenberger, S., Esch, T., Michaelsen, M., Anders, M., Raboch, J., & Ptacek, R. (2023). Artificial Intelligence: Deciphering the links between psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative disease. Brain Sciences, 13(7), 1055.

Stefano, G. B., Kream, R. M., & Esch, T. (2023). Mobility Coupled with Motivation Promotes Survival: The Evolution of Cognition as an Adaptive Strategy. Biology12(1).

Urbanová, L., Vňuková, M. S., Anders, M., Ptáček, R. & Bušková, J. (2023). The Updating and Individualizing of Sleep Hygiene Rules for Non-clinical Adult Populations. Prague Medical Report, 124(4), 329-343.

Vňuková, M., Děchtěrenko, F., Weissenberger, S., Anders, M., & Ptáček, R. (2023). Childhood School performance in adults diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Attention Disorders, 27(3), 307-312.

Vňuková, M., Ptáček, R., Děchtěrenko, F., Weissenberger, S., Ptáčková, H., Braaten, E., Raboch, J., Anders, M., Klicperová-Baker, M., & Goetz, M. (2021). Prevalence of ADHD symptomatology in adult population in the Czech Republic–A National Study. Journal of Attention Disorders, 25(12), 1657-1664.

Vňuková, M. S., Sebalo, I., Brečka, T., Anders, M., & Ptáček, R. (2023). Burnout syndrome in the Czech Republic: The decreasing trend over the years. Frontiers in Public Health, 11, 1099528.


Altmann, N., Scheer, L. & Esch, T. (2022). Digitale Kommunikation in der Praxis: Chancen, Risiken, Tipps und Tools. In M. Henningsen, P. Stachwitz, S. Fahimi-Weber, B. Afzali & N. Altmann (Hrsg.), Die digitale Arztpraxis: Technik, Tools und Tipps zur Umsetzung. Medizinisch Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft.

Büttiker, P., Stefano, G. B., Weissenberger, S., Ptacek, R., Anders, M., Raboch, J. & Kream, R. M. (2022). HIV, HSV, SARS-CoV-2 and Ebola Share Long-Term Neuropsychiatric Sequelae. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment18, 2229–2237.

Esch, T. (2022). The ABC Model of Happiness-Neurobiological Aspects of Motivation and Positive Mood, and Their Dynamic Changes through Practice, the Course of Life. Biology11(6).

Esch, T. & Brinkhaus, B. (2022). Die Bedeutung der Selbstregulation in der Integrativen und Mind-Body-Medizin. In A. Mollik (Hrsg.), Mindful Doctor: Next Generation Leadership in Medizin und Gesundheit. Medizinisch Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft.

Esch, T. & Stefano, G. B. (2022). The BERN Framework of Mind-Body Medicine: Integrating Self-Care, Health Promotion, Resilience, and Applied Neuroscience. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience16, 913573.

Henningsen, M., Stachwitz, P., Fahimi-Weber, S., Afzali, B. & Altmann, N. (Hrsg.). (2022). Die digitale Arztpraxis: Technik, Tools und Tipps zur Umsetzung. Medizinisch Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft.

Jacobs, A., Flägel, K., Werdecker, L. & Esch, T. (2022). Peak Moments im Ärzt*innen-Patient*innen-Kontakt der hausärztlichen Praxis–eine qualitative Studie mit Allgemeinmediziner*innen in Deutschland [Peak moments in physician-patient consultations in general practice: A qualitative study among primary care physicians in Germany]. Zeitschrift für Evidenz, Fortbildung und Qualität im Gesundheitswesen172, 31–39.

Karwetzky, C., Michaelsen, M. M., Werdecker, L. & Esch, T. (2022). The U-Curve of Happiness Revisited: Correlations and Differences in Life Satisfaction Over the Span of Life-An Empirical Evaluation Based on Data From 1,597 Individuals Aged 12-94 in Germany. Frontiers in Psychology13, 837638.

Koch, S., Esch, T. & Werdecker, L. (2022). Effects of a Yoga-Based Stress Intervention Program on the Blood Pressure of Young Police Officers: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine28(3), 234–240.

Michaelsen, M. M. & Esch, T. (2022). Functional Mechanisms of Health Behavior Change Techniques: A Conceptual Review. Frontiers in Psychology13, 725644.

Michaelsen, M. M. & Esch, T. (2022). Meditations- und Achtsamkeitsinterventionen zur Förderung psychischer Ressourcen in der supportiven onkologischen Behandlung. Onkologische Welt13(03), 157–161.

Schönfeld, S., Rathmer, I., Michaelsen, M. M., Hoetger, C., Onescheit, M., Lange, S., Werdecker, L. & Esch, T. (2022). Effects of a Mindfulness Intervention Comprising an App, Web-Based Workshops, and a Workbook on Perceived Stress Among Nurses and Nursing Trainees: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR research protocols11(8), e37195.

Schwarz, J. & Esch, T. (2022). OpenNotes in Mental Health? ProDer Nervenarzt93(11), 1163–1164.

Stefano, G. B., Büttiker, P. & Kream, R. M. (2022). Reassessment of the blood-brain barrier: a potential target for viral entry into the immune-privileged brain. Germs12(1), 99–101.

Stefano, G. B., Büttiker, P., Weissenberger, S., Ptacek, R., Wang, F., Esch, T., Bilfinger, T. V., Raboch, J. & Kream, R. M. (2022). Biomedical Perspectives of Acute and Chronic Neurological and Neuropsychiatric Sequelae of COVID-19. Current Neuropharmacology20(6), 1229–1240.

Stefano, G. B. & Kream, R. M. (2022). Mitochondrial DNA Heteroplasmy as an Informational Reservoir Dynamically Linked to Metabolic and Immunological Processes Associated with COVID-19 Neurological Disorders. Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology42(1), 99–107.

Stefano, G. B. & Kream, R. M. (2022). Viruses Broaden the Definition of Life by Genomic Incorporation of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Processes. Current Neuropharmacology20(10), 1888–1893.

Esch, T. (2022). The ABC Model of Happiness. Encyclopedia; (accessed on 30 June 2022)

Werdecker, L. & Esch, T. (2022). Glück in der Hausarztpraxis – Ergebnisse einer qualitativen Studie unter Praxisteams. Zeitschrift für Allgemeinmedizin98(1), 24–29.

Werdecker, L. & Esch, T. (2022). Stress und Gesundheit. In R. Haring (Hrsg.), Gesundheitswissenschaften. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.