Title: Johannes Bohacek, ETH Zurich
Start date: Feb 01 2019
Start time: 11:15 am
End time: 12:15 pm
Location: Max Planck House Lecture Hall

Abstract: In response to challenging, threatening situations, the body quickly mobilizes energy resources and sharpens the senses to prepare for the fight-or-flight response. Although this powerful stress response is essential for ensuring survival, it also comes at a significant cost; It immediately increases anxiety levels (e.g. stage fright), and in extreme cases it can trigger neuropsychiatric disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder. Using the mouse as a model system, our lab studies the molecular and circuit-level changes triggered by acute stress. On the one hand, we analyze the molecular changes that occur in the hippocampus in response to acute stressors, on a transcriptomic, proteomic and epigenetic level. On the other hand, we also dissect circuit function of the locus coeruleus, which is strongly activated in response to stress and floods the brain with noradrenaline. We ask how noradrenaline release can rapidly change behavior, increase anxiety, and shift network function on a brain-wide level. For this work, we combine opto- and chemogenetic circuit-manipulation with behavior analyses and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). Our results provide insights into the neural mechanisms associated with healthy stress coping, but also highlight mechanisms that might be dysregulated in stress-related diseases.

Host: Oxana Eschenko