M.Sc. Melissa Hitzler

Melissa Hitzler studied psychology from 2011-2017 at the Universitiy of Ulm and the University of Leipzig. From April 2016 to September 2017 she joined a reasarch group at the Max-Planck-Insitute for human cognitive and brain science, Leipzig to accomplish her master thesis. She wrote her thesis about the development of cognitive and verbal skills in infants. From August 2016 to October 2017 she worked as student research assistent at the department of Psychosomatic Medicin and Psychotherapy at the University hospital, Leipzig. During her bachelor programm at the University of Ulm she worked as sutdent research assistent at the departemnt of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University hospital of Ulm.

Since Januar 2018 she is a Ph.D. student at the department of Clinical & Biological Psychology at Ulm University. The main focus of her research is the impact of trauma and adverse and childhood experiences on psychotic disorders and schizophrenia and their biomolecular consequences.


Melissa Hitzler
doctoral candidate

Melissa Hitzler
☎ +49-(0)731/50 26595
Π 47.2.407

Consultation hours
on appointment


  • ENHANCE: Molecular, bioenergetic, and immunological effects of trauma-focused psychotherapy in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder and experiences of abuse, maltreatment and neglect in childhood and adolescence
  • Risk- and resilience factors in emergency medical employees of the German red cross after critical mission events

Research Interests

  • Transdisciplinary trauma research
  • The role of adverse childhood and traumatic experiences in the etiology of mental disorders
  • (Intergenerational) Consequences of stress, trauma and adverse childhood experiences with mitochondrial functioning, inflammation, oxidative stress and physiological stress regulation
  • Reversibility of biomolecular consequences of chronic and traumatic Stress through trauma therapy within patients with posttraumatic stress disorder


  • Winter term 18/19 „Nutrition and mental health“ (M.Sc. course)
  • External:
    Summer term 2018 „Molecular psychotraumatology meets molecular nutrition science: Is healthy nutrition able to maintain our mental health?” Course, Summer School of Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes


11/2021 Project start-up funding, Support Programme for Female Researchers Ulm University
seit 11/2018 doctoral scholarship of Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation
02/2020 Poster Award of the German speaking Society of Psychotraumatology (DeGPT)
02/2020 Travel Award of the German speaking Society of Psychotraumatology (DeGPT)




Since 11/ 2018 doctoral scholarship of Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation


Sauer, K.S., Wendler-Bödicker, Boos, A., Niemeyer, H., Palmer, S., Rojas, R., Hoyer, J., & Hitzler, M. (submitted) Treatment of comorbidities of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder related to childhood maltreatment with STAIR-NT: Clinical recommendations and challenges. Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie.

Köhler-Dauner, J., Mayer, I., Hitzler, M., Karabatsiakis, A., Matits, L., Bach, A.M., Fegert, J.M., Kolassa, I.-T., & Ziegenhain, U. (submitted). Atypical maternal interaction is associated with elevated levels of hair cortisol in children. Frontiers in Pediatrics.

Hitzler, M., Behnke, A., Gündel, H., Ziegenhain, U., Kindler, H., Kolassa. I.-T., & Zimmermann, J. (submitted). Sources of social support for postpartum women with a history of childhood maltreatment: Consequences for perceived stress and general mental health in the first year after birth. Child Abuse & Neglect.

Rojas, R. Hitzler, M., Palmer, S., Sauer, K.S., Wendler-Bödicker, C., Boos, A., Hoyer, J., & Niemeyer, H. (accepted). Complex trauma symptoms after childhood maltreatment: Strengths and challenges of the therapy program STAIR-NT. Verhaltenstherapie.

Hitzler, M., Bach, A. M., Köhler-Dauner, F., Gündel, H., & Kolassa, I. T. (2022). Long-Term Consequences of Childhood Maltreatment Among Postpartum Women—Prevalence of Psychosocial Risk Factors for Child Welfare: An Independent Replication Study. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 13.

Karrasch, S., Hitzler, M., Behnke, A., Tumani, V., Kolassa, I. T., & Rojas, R. (2020). Chronic and traumatic ttress among emergency medical services personnel: A narrative review on vulnerability factors, resilience, and intervention. Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie, 49(4), 204-217.

Hitzler, M., Karrasch, S., Gumpp, A. M., Karabatsiakis, A., & Kolassa, I. T. (2020). Molecular-Toxic Consequences of Chronic and Traumatic Stress and Their Reversibility through Mind-Body Interventions. Verhaltenstherapie, 1-15.

Hitzler, M., Karabatsiakis, A., & Kolassa, I.T. (2019). Biomolecular vulnerability factors of mental disorders. Influence of chronic and traumatic stress on the immune system, free radicals and mitochondria. Psychotherapeut, 4.

Behnke, A., Rojas, R., Karrasch, S., Hitzler, M., & Kolassa, I. T. (2019). Deconstructing traumatic mission experiences: Identifying critical incidents and their relevance for the mental and physical health among emergency medical service personnel. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 2305.

Contributions to International conferences

“Social Support for Mothers with a History of Childhood Maltreatment: Protective Effects on Stress Perception and Mental Health”. Poster & Short Talk presented at the annual Conference of the German speaking Society of Psychotraumatology, DeGPT, 2020, Berlin, Germany.

“Lifelong Consequences of Childhood Maltreatment: Psychosocial Risk Factors for Child Welfare”. Poster & Short Talk presented at the annual Conference of the German speaking Society of Psychotraumatology, DeGPT, 2020, Berlin, Germany.

“Alterations of the serum N-glycan profile in female patients with Major Depressive Disorder”. Talk at the Conference of the German Endocrine Brain Immune Network, GEBIN, 2019, Berlin, Germany.

“Alterations of the serum N-glycan profile in female patients with Major Depressive Disorder”. Poster presented at 26th Conference of the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society, PNIRS, 2019, Berlin, Germany.

“Investigating intergenerational gene × environment interaction of allelic variation in FKBP5 and childhood maltreatment on hair steroid levels in mother-infant dyads“. Talk at the Conference of „Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik und Nervenheilkunde“, DGPPN, 2018, Berlin.

Peer Reviewer

  • Journal of Mental Health and Prevention
  • Journal of Psychoneuroendocrinology