Preclinical Laboratory for Translational Research into Affective Disorders (PLaTRAD)
Depression is a debilitating disorder of the brain/mind. Definitive understanding of aetiopathophysiology-pathology is lacking and, accordingly, current therapies are of limited efficacy. Our main goals are to conduct research with mouse models that: (1) increases understanding of the aetiopathophysiology-pathology underlying critical emotional-cognitive dysfunctions in depression, and (2) contributes to the discovery and development of novel, effective anti-depressant treatments.
Keywords: Depression, stress vulnerability-resistance, emotional-cognitive function, stress neuropeptides, neuroimmunology, glia-neuron network, serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, GABA, anti-depressant
1 senior scientist, 1 technician, 3 PhD students, 1 MD-PhD student, 2 Resident psychiatrists, 1 Master student
Previous research in monkeys and rats investigated the effects of environmental stressors (e.g. prenatal glucocorticoid exposure, postnatal social stress) on depression-relevant behaviour, physiology, neuroanatomy.
Current research in mice is establishing models, in terms of aetiology and readouts, of key emotional-cognitive-homeostatic processes in depression (e.g. learned helplessness, negative feedback sensitivity, fatigue, disrupted circadian rhythm) and investigating the circuitry and cellular processes underlying these. The physiological, molecular and behavioural changes induced by experience of uncontrollable stressors - of direct relevance to depression aetiology and maintenance - constitute a central theme.
We aim to increase understanding of the aetiopathophysiology-pathology underlying depression-relevant emotional-cognitive-homeostatic states using valid mouse models. This knowledge will be applied to identification and pre-clinical validation of novel targets and mechanisms of antidepressant therapy.
Genetically-modified mice, environment-gene interaction, viral vectors, stereotactic surgery, neuropharmacology, automated equipment for emotional-cognitive testing, in vivo microdialysis, enzyme immunoassay
Comparative Behavioural Neuroscience
BIO328 Practical Course in Neurobiology
Introductory Course in Neuroscience (ZNZ PhD program)
Swiss National Science Foundation
NCCR Neural Plasticity and Repair
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