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The brain under pressure: Bristol Neuroscience attracts BBSRC grant

23 July 2008

The BBSRC has awarded a grant of over £0.5 million to an interdisciplinary team, formed via Bristol Neuroscience, researching into the behaviour of brain cells during periods of acute stress.

This important research cuts across disciplines – namely endocrinology (study of hormones) and neuroscience – to see how stress hormones, especially glucocorticoids, act in the brain. The University’s Bristol Neuroscience network (BN) is key in enabling this kind of work, since it exists to bring diverse disciplines together. 

Professor Stafford Lightman, joint grant-holder, said: ‘At a time of stress – such as seeing a lion advancing on you, or maybe even a double-decker bus – it is important for your brain to work optimally and to find the best way to escape. Clarity of assessing the situation is therefore paramount. It is also critically important to remember and learn from the situation; if it recurs, you can refer to the earlier experience and know how best to escape.’

Research supported by the grant should also shed light on what happens in the brain during the long-term chronic stress related to work or personal problems.

Professor Graham Collingridge in the Department of Anatomy commented: ‘Professor Lightman and I co-founded BN five years ago to promote dialogue within Bristol's diverse neuroscience community. I am delighted that one of the resulting collaborations is a joint project between our labs, headed by Professor Kei Cho, whose appointment can also be directly attributed to BN.’


Bristol Neuroscience

Neuroscience is one of the key areas of research at the University of Bristol. Furthermore, the city of Bristol has one of largest concentrations of researchers engaged in neuroscience in the UK, many of whom are internationally recognised. In 2003 Bristol Neuroscience (BN) was established to enable all neuroscientists working in Bristol - both within the University and its partner hospitals across the city - to make full use of all available resources and expertise.

BN runs numerous activities to encourage the dissemination of ideas, to create opportunities for interdisciplinary research, and to facilitate the pursuit of neuroscience to the highest possible standard. For further information please see the BN website or contact Dr Anne Cooke.


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