© Helene Richter

Prof. Dr. helene richter


Tel: (+49)-(0)251-83-21014
Fax: (+49)-(0)251-83-23896

Room 152

Office hours: upon consultation

  • Research Areas

    • Refinement of animal experiments and housing conditions
    • Reproducibility and generalizability of animal experiments
    • Animal welfare
    • Cognition and emotion
    • Animal welfare and animal personality
  • CV


    PhD-studies, Animal Welfare and Ethology, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
    Studies of Biology, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster


    Professor for Behavioural Biology and Animal Welfare
    Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Behavioural Biology, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
    Postdoctoral researcher, Animal Models in Psychiatry, Central Institute of Mental Health and Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience (BCCN), Mannheim / Heidelberg
    Postdoctoral researcher, Animal Welfare and Ethology, Veterinary Medicine, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
    PhD student, Animal Welfare and Ethology, Veterinary Medicine, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen


    Aufnahme in das Margarete von Wrangell-Habilitationsprogramm 2014 - Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg
    Klaus Tschira Preis für verständliche Wissenschaft 2011 (1. Platz für das Fach Biologie) - Klaus Tschira Stiftung gGmbH

    External functions

    Executive board member of the Otto Creutzfeldt Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience (OCC), Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster
    Member of the Animal Welfare Committee (“Tierschutzausschuss”), University of Münster
    Manager of the Ethological Society e.V.
    Member of the Coordination Commission for Animal Experimentation, University of Münster
    Member of the Human Affectome Project, Neuroqualia, Happiness Team, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Member of the Ethological Society e.V.
    Member of International Society of Applied Ethology (ISAE)
    Member of the Young North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts (“Junges Kolleg” NRW)
    Member of the Hessian Animal Welfare Committee


    Call for a temporary W2-S-professorship for “Animal welfare and refinement in animal experimentation”, Freie Universität Berlin and German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)
    Call for a W1-professorship for “Ethology of Farm Animals”, Landwirtschaftliche Fakultät, Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn
  • Projects

    • CRC TRR 212 A02 - Optimistic and pessimistic decision making under ambiguity: causes and consequences for niche choice and niche conformance ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Collaborative Research Centre | Project Number: TRR 212/1
    • NC3 - CRC 212 - A Novel Synthesis of Individualisation across Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Collaborative Research Centre | Project Number: TRR 212/1
    • RTG 2220 EvoPAD - RTG 2220 - Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Research Training Group | Project Number: GRK 2220/1
    • CRC TRR 58 - A01: Life history, serotonin transporter genotype and anxiety-like behaviour: testing the "coping-with-challenge hypothesis" ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Collaborative Research Centre | Project Number: TRR 58/4
    • Standardisierung, Heterogenisierung und Reproduzierbarkeit von Ergebnissen aus Tierversuchen ( - )
      Third-party funding : DFG - Individual Grants Programme | Project Number: RI 2488/3-1
  • Publications

    • Feige-Diller J, Palme R, Kaiser S, Sachser N, Richter SH. . ‘The impact of varying food availability on health and welfare in mice: Testing the Match-Mismatch hypothesis.’ Physiology & Behavior 228, No. 113193. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2020.113193.

    • Feige-Diller J, Krakenberg V, Bierbaum L, Seifert L, Palme R, Kaiser S, Sachser N, Richter SH. . ‘The effects of different feeding routines on welfare in laboratory mice.’ Frontiers in Veterinary Science 6: 479.
    • Krakenberg V, Siestrup S, Palme R, Kaiser S, Sachser N, Richter SH. . ‘Effects of different social experiences on emotional state in mice.’ Scientific Reports 10, No. 15255. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-71994-9.
    • Mutwill AM, Zimmermann TD, Hennicke A, Richter SH, Kaiser S, Sachser N. . ‘Adaptive reshaping of the hormonal phenotype after social niche transition in adulthood.’ Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 287. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2020.0667.
    • Richter SH. . ‘Automated home-cage testing as a tool to improve reproducibility of behavioral research?Frontiers in Neuroscience 14: 383.
    • Richter SH. . „Reproduzierbarkeit von Verhaltensdaten (Kapitel 8.3).“ In Methoden der Verhaltensbiologie, herausgegeben von Naguib M, Krause ET, 102-106. 2nd Ed. Berlin: Springer Spektrum.
    • Richter SH, von Kortzfleisch V. . ‘It is time for an empirically informed paradigm shift in animal research.’ Nature Reviews Neuroscience 21: 660. doi: https://doi.org/ 10.1038/s41583-020-0370-7.
    • Von Kortzfleisch VT, Karp NA, Palme R, Kaiser S, Sachser N, Richter SH. . ‘Improving reproducibility in animal research by splitting the study population into several ‘mini-experiments’.’ Scientific Reports 10, No. 16579. doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73503-4.

    • Bodden C, von Kortzfleisch V, Karwinkel F, Kaiser S, Sachser N, Richter SH. . ‘Heterogenising study samples across testing time improves reproducibility of behavioural data.’ Scientific Reports 9: 8247.
    • Haaker J, Maren S, Andreatta M, Merz CJ, Richter J, Richter SH, Drexler Shira S, Lange MD, Jüngling K, Nees F, Seidenbecher T, Fullana MA, Wotjak C, Lonsdorf TB. . ‘Making translation work: Harmonizing cross-species methodology in the behavioural neuroscience of Pavlovian fear conditioning.’ Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 107: 329-345.
    • Krakenberg V, Woigk I, Garcia Rodriguez L, Kästner N, Kaiser S, Sachser N, Richter SH. . ‘Technology or ecology? New tools to assess cognitive judgement bias in mice.’ Behavioural Brain Research 362: 279-287.
    • Krakenberg V, von Kortzfleisch V, Kaiser S, Sachser N, Richter SH. . ‘Differential effects of serotonin transporter genotype on anxiety-like behavior and cognitive judgment bias in mice.’ Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 13: 263.
    • Kästner N, Richter SH, Urbanik S, Kunert J, Waider J, Lesch K-P, Kaiser S, Sachser N. . ‘Brain serotonin deficiency affects female aggression.’ Scientific Reports 9, No. 1366.
    • Melotti L, Kästner N, Eick AK, Schnelle AL, Palme R, Sachser N, Kaiser S, Richter SH. . ‘Can live with ‘em, can live without ‘em: pair housed male C57BL/6J mice show low aggression and increasing sociopositive interactions with age, but can adapt to single housing if separated.Applied Animal Behaviour Science 214: 79-88.
    • Mutwill AM, Zimmermann TD, Reuland C, Fuchs S, Kunert J, Richter SH, Kaiser S, Sachser N. . ‘High reproductive success despite queuing – Socio-sexual development of males in a complex social environment.’ Frontiers in Psychology 10: 2810.
    • Richter SH, Hintze S. . ‘From the individual to the population – and back again? Emphasising the role of the individual in animal welfare science.’ Applied Animal Behaviour Science 212: 1-8.
    • Von Kortzfleisch V, Kästner N, Prange L, Kaiser S, Sachser N, Richter SH. . ‘Have I been here before? Effects of repeated testing and age on the results of behavioural tests.’ Behavioural Brain Research 367: 143-148.

    • Bodden C, Siestrup S, Palme R, Kaiser S, Sachser N, Richter SH. . ‘Evidence-based severity assessment: Impact of repeated versus single open-field testing on welfare in C57BL/6J mice.’ Behavioural Brain Research 336: 261-268.
    • Kafkafi N, Agassi J, Chesler EJ, Crabbe JC, Crusio WE, Eilam D, Gerlai R, Golani I, Gomez-Marin A, Heller R, Iraqi F, Jaljuli I, Karp NA, Morgan H, Nicholson G, Pfaff DW, Richter SH, Stark PB, Stiedl O, Stodden V, Tarantino LM, Tucci V, Valdar W, Williams RW, Würbel H, Benjamini Y. . ‘Reproducibility and replicability of rodent phenotyping in preclinical studies.’ Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 87: 218-232.
    • Kästner N, Richter SH, Bodden C, Palme R, Kaiser S, Sachser N. . ‘Varying social experiences in adulthood do not differentially affect anxiety-like behavior but stress hormone levels.’ Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 12: 72.
    • Richter SH. . „Aus dem VBIO.“ Biologie in unserer Zeit (BIUZ) 48: 23.
    • Richter SH. . „“Never replicate a successful experiment” - Gedanken über Unschärfe im Tierversuch.“ In Unschärfe – der Umgang mit fehlender Eindeutigkeit, herausgegeben von Freitag S, Geierhos M, Asmani R, Haug JI, 93-110.
    • Richter SH, Sachser N, Kaiser S. . „Emotionen.“ In Handbuch Tierethik, herausgegeben von Ach JS, Borchers D, 64-69. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler.
    • Sachser N, Richter SH, Kaiser S. . „Artgerecht/tiergerecht.“ In Handbuch Tierethik, herausgegeben von Ach JS, Borchers D, 155-160. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler.

    • Kästner, N, Richter, SH, Gamer, M, Kaiser, S, Sachser, N. . ‘What a difference a day makes - female behaviour is less predictable near ovulation.’ Royal Society open science 4. doi: 10.1098/rsos.160998.
    • Meyer N, Jenikejew J, Richter SH, Kaiser S, Sachser N. . ‘Social experiences during adolescence affect anxiety-like behavior but not aggressiveness in male mice.’ Behavioural Brain Research 326: 147-153. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2017.03.017.
    • Richter SH. . ‘Systematic heterogenization for better reproducibility in animal experimentation.’ Lab Animal 46: 343-349. doi: 10.1038/laban.1330.

    • Graulich DM, Kaiser S, Sachser N, Richter SH. . ‘Looking on the bright side of bias – validation of an affective bias test for laboratory mice.’ Applied Animal Behaviour Science 181: 173-181.
    • Mallien AS, Palme R, Richetto J, Muzzillo C, Richter SH, Vogt MA, Inta D, Riva MA, Vollmayr B, Gass P. . ‘Daily exposure to a touchscreen-paradigm and associated food restriction evokes an increase in adrenocortical and neural activity in mice.’ Hormones and Behavior 81: 97-105.
    • Meyer N, Richter SH, Schreiber RS, Kloke V, Kaiser S, Lesch KP, Sachser N. . ‘The Unexpected Effects of Beneficial and Adverse Social Experiences during Adolescence on Anxiety and Aggression and Their Modulation by Genotype.’ Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 10, No. 97. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2016.00097.
    • Remmes J, Bodden C, Richter SH, Lesting J, Sachser N, Pape H-C, Seidenbecher T. . ‘Impact of life history on fear memory and extinction.’ Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience 10: 185. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2016.00185.
    • Richter, SH, Kästner, N, Kriwet, M, Kaiser, S, Sachser, N. . ‘Play matters - the surprising relationship between juvenile playfulness and anxiety in later life.’ Animal Behaviour 114: 261-271. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.02.003.
    • Richter SH, Kästner, N, Loddenkemper, DH, Kaiser, S, Sachser, N. . ‘A time to wean? Impact of weaning age on anxiety-like behaviour and stability of behavioural traits in full adulthood.’ PLoS ONE 11(12): e0167652. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167652.
    • Richter SH, Spinello C, Macrì S. . ‘Improving external validity of experimental animal data.’ In Animal Models for Human Cancer: Discovery and Development of Novel Therapeutics, edited by Martic-Kehl MI, Schubiger PA, 41-60. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH.

    • Bodden C, Richter SH, Schreiber RS, Kloke V, Gerss J, Palme R, Lesch K-P, Lewejohann L, Kaiser S, Sachser N. . ‘Benefits of adversity?! How life history affects the behavioral profile of mice varying in serotonin transporter genotype.Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 9: 47.
    • Kästner N., Richter S.H., Lesch K.P., Schreiber R.S., Kaiser S., Sachser N. . ‘Benefits of a "vulnerability gene"? A study in serotonin transporter knockout mice.’ Behavioural Brain Research 283. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.01.031.
    • Macri S, Richter SH. . ‘The Snark was a Boojum – reloaded.’ Frontiers in Zoology 12: S20.
    • Sachser N, Richter SH. . ‘Animals can tell us more.’ Behavioral and Brain Sciences 38: 44-45.

    • Lima-Ojeda JM, Vogt MA, Richter SH, Dormann C, Schneider M, Gass P, Inta D. . ‘Lack of protracted behavioral abnormalities following intermittent or continuous chronic mild hypoxia in perinatal C57BL/6 mice.Neuroscience Letters 577C: 77-82. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2014.06.022.
    • Richter SH, Gass P, Fuss J. . ‘Resting Is Rusting: A Critical View on Rodent Wheel-Running Behavior.The Neuroscientist 20(4): 313-325. doi: 10.1177/1073858413516798.
    • Richter SH, Sartorius A, Gass P, Vollmayr B. . ‘A matter of timing: harm reduction in learned helplessness.’ Behavioral and Brain Functions 10: 41.
    • Richter SH, Vogel AS, Ueltzhöffer K, Muzzillo C, Vogt MA, Lankisch K, Armbruster-Genç DJ, Riva MA, Fiebach CJ, Gass P, Vollmayr B. . ‘Touchscreen-paradigm for mice reveals cross-species evidence for an antagonistic relationship of cognitive flexibility and stability.Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 8: 154. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00154.
    • Richter SH, Wollmann E, Schmidt M, Zillmann U, Hellweg R, Sprengel R, Gass P. . ‘The effects of neonatal cryoanaesthesia-induced hypothermia on adult emotional behaviour and stress markers in C57BL/6 mice.Behavioural Brain Research 270C: 300-306. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.05.002.

    • Fuss J, Richter SH, Steinle J, Deubert G, Hellweg R, Gass P. . ‘Are you real? Visual simulation of social housing by mirror image stimulation in single housed mice.Behavioural Brain Research 243: 191-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2013.01.015.
    • Hoyer C, Richter H, Brandwein C, Riva MA, Gass P. . ‘Preconceptional paternal exposure to a single traumatic event affects postnatal growth of female but not male offspring.Neuroreport 24, No. 15: 856-60. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000007.
    • Pignatelli M, Vollmayr B, Richter SH, Middei S, Matrisciano F, Molinaro G, Nasca C, Battaglia G, Ammassari-Teule M, Feligioni M, Nisticò R, Nicoletti F, Gass P. . ‘Enhanced mGlu5-receptor dependent long-term depression at the Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapse of congenitally learned helpless rats.Neuropharmacology 66: 339-47. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.05.046.
    • Richter SH, Zeuch B, Lankisch K, Gass P, Durstewitz D, Vollmayr B. . ‘Where have I been? Where should I go? Spatial working memory on a radial arm maze in a rat model of depression.PloS one 8, No. 4: e62458. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062458.
    • Richter SH, Zeuch B, Riva MA, Gass P, Vollmayr B. . ‘Environmental enrichment ameliorates depressive-like symptoms in young rats bred for learned helplessness.Behavioural Brain Research 252: 287-92. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2013.06.021.
    • Würbel H, Richter SH, Garner JP. . ‘Reply to: "Reanalysis of Richter et al. (2010) on reproducibility".Nature Methods 10, No. 5: 374. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2446.

    • Gross AN, Richter SH, Engel AK, Würbel H. . ‘Cage-induced stereotypies, perseveration and the effects of environmental enrichment in laboratory mice.Behavioural Brain Research 234, No. 1: 61-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.06.007.
    • Hoyer C, Vogt MA, Richter SH, Zaun G, Zahedi Y, Maderwald S, Ladd ME, Winterhager E, Grümmer R, Gass P. . ‘Repetitive exposure to a 7 Tesla static magnetic field of mice in utero does not cause alterations in basal emotional and cognitive behavior in adulthood.Reproductive Toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.) 34, No. 1: 86-92. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2012.03.006.
    • Richter SH, Schick A, Hoyer C, Lankisch K, Gass P, Vollmayr B. . ‘A glass full of optimism: enrichment effects on cognitive bias in a rat model of depression.Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience 12, No. 3: 527-42. doi: 10.3758/s13415-012-0101-2.

    • Chourbaji S, Hoyer C, Richter SH, Brandwein C, Pfeiffer N, Vogt MA, Vollmayr B, Gass P. . ‘Differences in mouse maternal care behavior - is there a genetic impact of the glucocorticoid receptor?PloS one 6, No. 4: e19218. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019218.
    • Engel AK, Gross AN, Richter SH, Würbel H. . ‘Variation in stress reactivity affects cage-induced stereotypies in female CD-1 (ICR) mice.’ Applied Animal Behaviour Science 133: 101-108.
    • Gross AN, Engel AK, Richter SH, Garner JP, Würbel H. . ‘Cage-induced stereotypies in female ICR CD-1 mice do not correlate with recurrent perseveration.Behavioural Brain Research 216, No. 2: 613-20. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2010.09.003.
    • Richter SH. . „Illusion der perfekten Kontrolle.“ Vet Journal 12/11: 46-49.
    • Richter SH. . „Illusion der perfekten Kontrolle.“ Bild der Wissenschaft plus 2011: 20-23.
    • Richter SH, Garner JP, Zipser B, Lewejohann L, Sachser N, Touma C, Schindler B, Chourbaji S, Brandwein C, Gass P, van Stipdonk N, van der Harst J, Spruijt B, Võikar V, Wolfer DP, Würbel H. . ‘Effect of population heterogenization on the reproducibility of mouse behavior: a multi-laboratory study.PloS one 6, No. 1: e16461. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016461.

    • Richter SH, Garner JP, Auer C, Kunert J, Würbel H. . ‘Systematic variation improves reproducibility of animal experiments.Nature Methods 7, No. 3: 167-8. doi: 10.1038/nmeth0310-167.

    • Ambrée O, Richter H, Sachser N, Lewejohann L, Dere E, de Souza Silva MA, Herring A, Keyvani K, Paulus W, Schäbitz WR. . ‘Levodopa Ameliorates Learning and Memory Deficits in a Murine Model of Alzheimer's Disease.Neurobiology of Aging 30, No. 8: 1192-204. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2007.11.010.
    • Richter SH, Garner JP, Würbel H. . ‘Environmental standardization: cure or cause of poor reproducibility in animal experiments?Nature Methods 6, No. 4: 257-61. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1312.

    • Richter H, Ambrée O, Lewejohann L, Herring A, Keyvani K, Paulus W, Palme R, Touma C, Schäbitz WR, Sachser N. . ‘Wheel-Running in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease: Protection or Symptom?Behavioural Brain Research 190, No. 1: 74-84. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2008.02.005.

    • Richter SH. . „Was ist Glück?In Glück. Ein philosophischer Streifzug, herausgegeben von Heller B, 10-11.