Chronic psychosocial stress at work, school or in families are a big burden for individuals and the society, as it constitutes a risk factor for numerous psychiatric and somatic disorders (see Gryksa and Neumann, 2022). I am studying an animal model mimicking the health-compromising chronic stress, i.e., chronic subordinate colony housing (CSC). Three-week exposure to CSC results, e.g., in increased anxiety, acute colitis, decreased glucocorticoid (GC) signalling and impaired HPA functioning as well as an increased inflammatory state (see Masis-Calvo et al., 2018).
Four mice and a macho. Mouse model of chronic psychosocial stress, i.e., chronic subordinate colony housing (CSC)
Chronic stress may also increase the vulnerability to acute challenges and trauma. In this context, my main research project focuses on the effect of chronic psychosocial stress induced by exposure to CSC on the consequences of a social trauma and is performed in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Stefan Reber (University of Ulm). As a social trauma, I use a mouse model of social fear conditioning (see project Dr. Rohit Menon) allowing the distinct induction of social fear without accompanying effects on anxiety- or depression-related behaviours. The SFC model can be considered both a model of social anxiety disorder (SAD), but also of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
I am studying the behavioural and immunological consequences of pre-exposure to chronic stress (CSC) prior to social trauma exposure (SFC). Here, I am specifically interested in pro- and anti-inflammatory signalling within the brain and want to know whether the anti-stress and pro-social neuropeptide oxytocin can exert a positive effect in this context.
My studies require a combinational analysis of the immune system, microbiome and behaviour using molecular and behavioural methods, such as the CSC model, SFC/CFC, behavioural tests for anxiety- and depression-related behaviour, ELISA, Western blotting, qPCR, in vitro cell stimulations, immunohistochemistry, histology, and more.
2018 to today:
Postdoctoral researcher in the Neumann lab, Institute of Behavioural and Molecular Neurobiology, University of Regensburg
On maternity leave since September 2022
2018 - 2022:
PhD student in Neurobiology in Prof. Neumann’s laboratory, Institute of Behavioural and Molecular Neurobiology, University of Regensburg
2015 – 2018:
M.Sc. in Biology at the University of Regensburg (Master thesis: “Implication of chronic psychosocial stress in behavior and the immune system”)
2011 - 2015:
B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Regensburg (Bachelor thesis: “Effects of pharmacological activation and inhibition of the mGlu7 receptor on maternal behavior in lactating CD1 mice”)