One major area of interest aims at analyzing and cross-linking personality with the stress response. The personality variables self-esteem and locus of control have been shown to systematically affect the perception of stress. These studies also seem to systematically link the hippocampus to both individual differences in stress responsivity as well as the stress response.

The research team also investigate the endocrinological aspects of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary Adrenal (HPA).

Both structural and functional brain imaging techniques are used at the lab.

  • Structural imaging: Use of recently developed protocols that allow manual segmentation of frontal and medial temporal lobe structures. Here, the interest is in morphological processes that are associated with cognitive decline, normal aging and hormonal dysregulations in non-clinical and clinical populations.
  • Functional imaging: Use of both Positron Emission Tomography and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to investigate the effects of acute and chronic stress on the brain.

Research projects

Mechanisms underlying the effects of acute and chronic stress perception and processing
Funding : Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Period : 09/2004 – 08/2009

Low self-esteem and its impact on psychoendocrinological and neuroimaging parameters across the life span
Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Period: 04/2004 – 03/2007

Taking into account lifelong exposure when considering beneficial or detrimental effects of estrogen on brain structures and health
Funding: Alzheimer Society of Canada
Date: 09/ 2004 – 08/2006

Research team

Post-doctoral fellow

Danielle Tisserand
Research Interests: MRI to look at neural changes associated with aging in cortical grey and white matter, and to associate such changes with test performance.
Volumetry, cortical thickness, voxel-based morphometry, diffusion tensor imaging.

Graduate students

Julie Andrews, MSc Student
Research Interests : Neurodevelopment in children, stress and HPA axis.

Claudia Buss, PhD Student
Research interests: Effects of pre- and postnatal adversity on HPA functioning, brain development and cognition. Combination of structural and functional MRI techniques linked with endocrinological and personality assessments. Affiliation with the University of Trier.

Vincent Corbo, PhD Student
Research interest: Structural and functional neuroimaging, Post-traumatic stress disorder, hippocampus, anterior cingulate cortex

Katarina Dedovic, PhD Student
Research interests: investigating whether pre-existing hippocampal abnormalities can contribute to the development of Major Depressive Disorder.

Veronika Engert, PhD Student
Research Interests: Analysing the effects of methylphenidate on behavioral indicators of the dopamine system as a function of early life experiences.

Catherine Lord, PhD Student
Research interests: to know whether estrogen exposure throughout life may be beneficial or not for cognitive functions and brain volumes in aging. Neuroimaging, measure of cerebral volume through manual segmentation protocols.

Najmeh Khalili Mahani, PhD Student
Research Interests: Magnetic Resonance Imaging, electromagnetic interferences and compatibility, computational modeling, morphological study of the brain

Tania Schramek, PhD Student
Research interests: determining the neuroanatomical basis of glucocorticoid-induced cognitive changes, with a particular emphasis on memory. Combination of fMRI and psychopharmacological techniques.

Carole Scherling, MSc Student
Research Interests: Self-esteem, attentional bias for rejecting or accepting information, the hippocampus, stress and HPA axis, structural and functional neuroimaging.
Other Labs : Michael Meaney, PhD

Mehereen Wadiwalla, M.Sc Student
Research interests: Looking at the deactivation patterns in the Medial Prefrontal cortex in relation to self awareness and self esteem.

Stephanie Wuethrich, MSc Student
Research interests: Stress, Endocrine regulation, Personality, Brain Imaging