Dr. phil. Vanessa Lux

Research Fellow  

Room: IB 5/111
Post-Office Box: 20
Phone: +49 234 32 21769
Office Hours: by arrangement 

I am interested in the periods and pathways through which stimulating and stressful sensory experiences get biologically embedded and how they contribute to development. My research focuses mainly on the underlying neuroepigenetic mechanisms, but I also address hormonal regulation and the impact on psychological function. 

I am also interested in how individuals differ in their degree of environmental sensitivity along a continuum. I address this question in experimental and ecological momentary assessment studies with people with high sensory processing sensitivity, chronic illness, and functional impairment. 

In my research, I emphasize a participatory perspective and an integrative developmental embodiment approach, which spans across different biological levels, methods, and disciplinary boundaries. I am also engaged in research studying the social and cultural implications of epigenetics. 

I am an alumna of the Arab German Young Academy ( and the Young ZiF Bielefeld ( 

Selected journal publications

Lux, V., Non, A.L., Pexman, P.M., Stadler, W., Weber, L.A., Krüger, M. (2021). A Developmental Framework for Embodiment Research: The Next Step Towards Integrating Concepts and Methods. Frontiers Systems Neuroscience. 

Sicorello, M., Dieckmann, L., Moser, D., Lux, V., Luhmann, M., Neubauer, A. B., Schlotz, W., & Kumsta, R. (2020). Highs and lows: Genetic susceptibility to daily events.  PloS one , 15 (8), e0237001.

Sicorello, M., Dieckmann, L., Moser, D., Lux, V., Luhmann, M., Schlotz, W., & Kumsta, R. (2020). Oxytocin and the stress buffering effect of social company: a genetic study in daily life.  Social cognitive and affective neuroscience ,  15 (3), 293-301. 

Lux, V. (2018). Epigenetic Programming Effects of Early Life Stress: A Dual-Activation Hypothesis.  Current Genomics 19,  638-652.

Lux V. (2013). With Gottlieb beyond Gottlieb: The role of epigenetics in psychobiological development.  International Journal of Developmental Science 7 (2), 69-78. 

Lux, V., & Kendler, K.S. (2010). Deconstructing major depression: a validation study of the DSM-IV symptomatic criteria.  Psychological medicine ,  40 (10), 1679-1690. 

Lux, V., Aggen, S.H., & Kendler, K.S. (2010). The DSM-IV definition of severity of major depression: inter-relationship and validity.  Psychological medicine ,  40 (10), 1691-1701. 


Lux. V. & Weigel, S. (Eds.) (2017).  Empathy - Epistemic Problems and Cultural-Historical Perspectives of a Cross-Disciplinary Concept . London u.a.: Palgrave Macmillan.  [Edited volume] 

Lux, V. & Richter, J.T. (Eds.) (2014).  Kulturen der Epigenetik: Vererbt, codiert, übertragen , Berlin: DeGruyter.  [Edited volume] 

Lux, V. (2012).  Genetik und Psychologische Praxis , Wiesbaden: Springer VS [Dissertation]

Lux, V. (2007).  Pränataldiagnostik in der Schwangerenvorsorge und der Schwangerschaftsabbruch nach Pränataldiagnostik  (1. ed. 2005, 2. ed. 2005, 3. updated ed. 2007). IMEW-Expertise. Berlin 

Selected book chapters 

Lux, V. & Kumsta, R. (2019). Epigenetik: Stress und Psychotraumatisierung. In: W. Senf, M. Broda, D. Voos, & M. Neher (Eds.).  Praxis Psychotherapie  (pp. 80-84), Berlin: Thieme  

Lux, V. (2017). The need to bridge concepts of development in the life sciences. In: D. Carre, J. Valsiner & S. Hampl (Eds.).  Representing Development  (pp. 49-68) .  London: Routledge.  

Lux, V. (2017). Kulturen der Epigenetik. In: J. Walter & A. Hümpel (Eds.).  Epigenetik. Implikationen für die Lebens- und Geisteswissenschaften  (pp. 135-158) .  Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag.  

Lux, V. (2016). Conrad Hal Waddingtons 'Chreode'. In: T. Petzer & S. Steiner (Eds.).  Synergie: Kultur- und Wissensgeschichte einer Denkfigur  (pp.247-264). Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag.  

Lux, V. (2014). Ererbtes Trauma. In: V. Lux & J.T. Richter (Eds.).  Kulturen der Epigenetik: Vererbt, codiert, übertragen  (pp. 89-105), Berlin: DeGruyter.  

Lux, V. (2014). Nature-nurture. In: T. Teo (Ed.)  Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology  (pp. 1225-1231), New York: Springer. 

Seminar Differentielle und Persönlichkeitspsychologie 

Projektseminar Genetische Psychologie

Forschungskolloquium Genetic Psychology

Seminar und Workshop Epigenetik, Vererbung, Evolution - Alte und neue Streitpunkte

04/2015 - onwards Research Fellow, Department of Genetic Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

04-08/2018 Visiting Scholar, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University, Montréal

03/2011–03/2015 Research Fellow (post-doc), Center for Literary and Cultural Research Berlin, Germany; research projects “Neuro-Psychoanalysis: Neuroscience between science and humanities” and “Cultural factors of inheritance (Epigenetics)”.

10/2013-03/2015 Lecturer in Neuroscience, Sigmund-Freud-PrivatUniversität Berlin, Germany

04/2009-07/2013 Lecturer in Social Psychiatry, University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal, Germany

08/2008–02/2009 Research Fellow (pre-doc), Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Richmond/VA, USA




01/2011 Ph.D. in Psychology (grade: summa cum laude), Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

04/2005 Diploma in Psychology (equivalent to M.Sc. in Psychology), Freie Universität Berlin, Germany