Stress-filled future for university professors
RESEARCHERS at Bristol University have received £758,000 to investigate how the brain processes stress and creates memories of psychologically stressful events.
The Government funding, through the BBSRC – Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council – will allow a team of researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter, led by Professor Hans Reul, to investigate the role of molecular processes, known as "epigenetic modifications", in the regulation of genes required to cope with stress.
At present it is unclear how the healthy brain adapts to and learns from stressful events. Professor Reul and his colleagues have recently discovered that after stress certain epigenetic modifications occur at the DNA of nerve cells which are crucial for the expression of genes necessary for the stressed individual to adapt.
Proper adaptation is important as it prepares the individual to deal better with similar challenges in the future.
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Bristol University neuroscientist, Professor Reul said: "Obtaining this information is crucial to understand how nerve cells "learn" from stressful events. Insight into these processes and the function of the genes involved will help to develop new ways to reduce the burden of stress-related disorders in humans and animals."