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£500,000 for research into stress and the brain

Press release issued: 11 August 2008

Over £500,000 has been awarded to Bristol University academics to fund research into how stress hormones act in the brain.

Over £500,000 has been awarded to Bristol University academics to fund research into how stress hormones act in the brain.

By understanding the immediate short-term effects of acute stress, such as the stress of finding yourself in the path of a large truck, the research will shed light on what happens in the brain during long-term chronic stress related to work or personal problems.

Funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) the three-year project is a result of collaboration initiated through the University’s Bristol Neuroscience network (BN), which is key in enabling such cross-discipline research – in this case endocrinology (the study of hormones) and neuroscience.

The project will be jointly led by Professors Kei Cho and Stafford Lightman from the University’s Henry Wellcome Laboratories for Integrative Neuroscience and Endocrinology, with Professor Graham Collingridge from the University MRC Centre for Synaptic Plasticity.

Professor Lightman said: “The funding will support research into how brain cells create memories during these periods of acute stress. At a time or situation of extreme stress 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.”

Professor Collingridge added: “Professor Lightman and I co-founded Bristol Neuroscience 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 laboratories.”


Further information

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 on BN please see or contact Dr Anne Cooke,
Please contact Dr Anne Cooke for further information.
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