Psychophysiology Unit

Psychophysiology of farm animal behavior and welfare

Our research area is the characterisation of assessment and adaptation processes at the neuroendocrine and immunology levels depending on mental and physical stressors as well as various affective states of the farm animal.

We have modified and established various in vivo and ex vivo models for triggering stress or immune reactions for this purpose. Investigating the interactions between behaviour, the neuroendocrine system and immune system for characterising health and animal welfare as well as evaluating stressors are the focal points.

For example, we study short and long-term effects of psychosocial stress in swine caused by husbandry conditions in the context of social deprivation and social support as well as maternal stress.

In addition, we focus on the development of non-invasive methods to determine stress hormones and on studies of interactions between peripheral hormone secretion, the immune system and neuroendocrine, limbic and cortical brain regions that respond to stress through the central nervous system and govern affective behaviour. 


Katharina Metzger, M.Sc.
Institute of Muscle Biology and Growth
+49 38208 68-810 | E-Mail
E-Mail +49 38208 68-810
Liza Rose Moscovice, Ph.D.
Institute of Behavioural Physiology
+49 38208 68-820 | E-Mail
E-Mail +49 38208 68-820
Dr. agr. Winfried Otten
Institute of Behavioural Physiology
+49 38208 68-809 | E-Mail
E-Mail +49 38208 68-809

Supervised Doctoral Candidates

cand. vet. med. Cathinka Celine Jørgensen
Institute of Behavioural Physiology
+49 38208 68-823 | E-Mail
E-Mail +49 38208 68-823