A Swiss researcher has featured in a podcast describing her research on trauma using mice.
Neuroscientist Professor Isabelle Mansuy (pictured), of EARA member the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, has studied the effect of life experiences and environmental factors on trauma, and how this is linked to complex brain conditions.
In the Tales from the Synapse podcast, produced with Nature Neuroscience, Prof Mansuy asks whether stress and traumatic experiences change the brain, and if these can be passed from generation-to-generation – a phenomenon known as epigenetic inheritance.
Prof Mansuy’s work combines neuroscience and epigenetics into a new discipline, neuroepigenetics, to understand the regulation of cells and genes of the nervous system and the consequences for brain function and behaviour.
Her research aims to mimic human conditions by exposing the animals to stress, either before or after birth, during development or in adulthood, for example by separating young mice from their mother.
Prof Mansuy said: “We need to understand what are the origins of such disease and why someone gets Alzheimer’s disease, or a neurodegenerative disorder, or mood disorder. So this fundamental research is absolutely essential, to hope to obtain answers to these questions.”