Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh


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Technical Summary

A fundamental question in stress research is why some individuals become vulnerable to affective disease, while others are resilient and gain strength from stressful experiences. In this multidisciplinary program we focus in a|translational approach on the role of the stress mediators, notably the glucocorticoid stress hormone endproduct of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Secreted glucocorticoids target the limbic brain, where their actions on emotional arousal, cognition and motivation are mediated by mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors (MR and GR). Recent evidence from our laboratories suggests that these receptors operate in concert with the other stress mediators, in all phases of the stress response from the onset to the recovery and from appraisal to memory storage/retrieval processes and affective responses. We test the hypothesis that imbalance in MR:GR mediated|processes threatens affective health as may become manifest from the outcome of inadequate, excessive or prolonged HPA axis responses.|Our objective is to understand how glucocorticoids, which are essential for adaptation and mental health, can become harmful. We have the following specific aims: |1) to generate animal models with altered MR:GR balance via transgenic and lentiviral approaches.|2) to induce enduring MR:GR changes in response to maternal care and perinatal challenges. |3) to examine the behavioural and neuroendocrine phenotype of these MR:GR modulated models. |4) in humans, to associate genetic variation in MR:GR we identified with emotional and traumatic memories as well as|vulnerability to and symptoms of PTSD.|5) to study HPA axis activity and Alzheimers Disease and chronic burnout patients and to study MR:GR gene polymorphisms cognition as prospective marker for affective health. In order to achieve these goals we combine the efforts of four pioneering groups in stress-HPA axis biology to rigorously test the MR:GR balance hypothesis in affective health|


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Description Wellcome Trust- University of Edinburgh Institutional Strategic Support Fund
Amount £69,823 (GBP)
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Department Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 03/2019
Description P031 Future Infrastructure Research Centre 
Organisation The National Telford Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Research and organisational time
Collaborator Contribution Research and organisational time
Impact The funding enabled: (1) The creation of a new initiative for Scotland called" Future Infrastructure Centre (FIRC)" (2) This success motivated UoE to create a new chair: "Chair of Future Infrastructure" (3) In July 2015, Dr Gordon Masterton was appointed to this post. (4) 3rd June 2015 - an all Scotland a half day meeting was held to discuss "Future Infrastructure research in Scotland" was held at the Grosvenor Hilton, Edinburgh (5) 22nd September 2015, a follow up meeting was held in the Doubletree Hotel, Edinburgh with Keynote talks on UKcric from Prof Brian Collins, UCL and Prof David Richards
Start Year 2014
Description PENS summer school 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact workshop and lectures stimulated questions and discussion in research area and improved participant confidence

collaborations were formed between delegates
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009