Scientific Director at the Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute,
Individual differences in maternal care can modify an offspring's cognitive development, as well as its ability to cope with stress later in life. Michael Meaney, PhD, was one of the first researchers to identify the importance of maternal care in modifying the expression of genes that regulate behavioral and neuroendocrine responses to stress, as well as hippocampal synaptic development.
At present, Michael Meaney and his team of research assistants, postdoctoral fellows, and students are pursuing several lines of research, including:
- The molecular mechanisms by which maternal care alters gene expression, with an emphasis on genes involved in the regulation of endocrine responses to stress, such as the glucocorticoid receptor and the corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) systems of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus and amygdala, which form part of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis
- The effects of environmental enrichment on the development of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, with a focus on NMDA-stimulated synaptogenesis
- Epigenetic programming through maternal behavior
- Epigenetic regulation of the glucocorticoid receptor in human brain associated with childhood abuse
Michael Meaney has authored over 180 publications and presented at research institutes, government health agencies, and scientific meetings throughout the world.
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