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Brain and behavioural impacts of early life adversity

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Dervila Glynn.

Theme: Adaptive Brain Computations

Abstract: Abuse, neglect, and other forms of uncontrollable stress during childhood and early adolescence can lead to adverse outcomes later in life, including especially perturbations in the regulation of mood and emotional states, and specifically anxiety disorders and depression. However, stress experiences vary from one individual to the next, meaning that causal relationships and mechanistic accounts are often difficult to establish in humans. This interdisciplinary talk considers the value of research in experimental animals where stressor experiences can be tightly controlled and detailed investigations of molecular, cellular, and circuit-level mechanisms can be carried out. The talk will focus on the widely used repeated maternal separation procedure in rats where rat offspring are repeatedly separated from maternal care during early postnatal life. This early life stress has remarkably persistent effects on behaviour with a general recognition that maternally-deprived animals are susceptible to depressive-like phenotypes. The validity of this conclusion will be critically appraised with convergent insights from a recent longitudinal study in maternally separated rats involving translational brain imaging, transcriptomics, and behavioural assessment.

Biography: Jeff Dalley is a Professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry. His research spans the fields of behavioural and cognitive neuroscience, psychopharmacology and the translation of basic advances in neuroscience to clinical psychopathology, including schizophrenia, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Parkinson’s disease and drug addiction.

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This talk is part of the Cambridge Neuroscience Interdisciplinary Seminars series.

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