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Neuroepigenetics entails processes that involve the neuro system. Dr. Isabelle Mansuy explains her research by exploring:

  • How epigenetics determines cellular formation and is therefore fundamental in development.
  • How life experiences can affect germ cells and how this is transmitted across generations.
  • Why experiencing trauma at a young age will cause the strongest epigenetic effect.

Dr. Isabelle Mansuy runs the Laboratory of Neuroepigenetics at the University of Zurich. Her lab is interested in the long-term effects of stress through the epigenetic carryover. Their studies on mice have shown that young individuals exposed to trauma at a very vulnerable time, a time when their germ cells are less protected, can retain dramatic effects. These stress-induced traumas modify the germ cell epigenome and the traces left on the brain sometimes carry over across generations.

Through these studies, her lab has made a solid model that is reproducible where they can screen these epigenetic changes and plot which of the epigenetic-caused behavioral changes remain and specifically for how many generations. 

Dr. Mansuy explains the depth to which epigenetic inheritance affects all physiological elements, from metabolic organs to bones to skin. Everywhere they looked they saw effects from trauma affecting cellular production.

Her lab continues to try and understand how these changes are transcribed and are looking at the possibility that blood is probably the mediator between the signals. 

Finally, she asks us to consider that epigenetic inheritance research has been delayed by our belief that DNA sequencing would solve all genetic problems and this is not the case. Neuroepigenetics changes our concept of heredity.

For more, see her lab website: https://www.hifo.uzh.ch/en/research/mansuy.html

Additionally, her papers are located on Pubmed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

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