Congratulations to our newest lab member, Yashika Bansal! Yashika received a 1-year post-doctoral fellowship from the Labatt Family Network for Research on the Biology of Depression to conduct her work astroglial gene expression changes in chronic stress and depression.

Project title: Cross-species identification of astroglial mechanisms involved in depression and chronic stress

Synopsis: Depression is affecting a rising percentage of population worldwide. The moderate efficacy of current antidepressant therapies compels for a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of depression and the discovery of new avenues of treatment. In this study, we propose to focus on identifying the biological mechanisms involved in astroglial vulnerability associated with major depressive disorder and chronic stress. We will compare astrocyte specific gene expression changes in post-mortem brains from patients with depression and rodents exposed to chronic stress. We will also characterize the role of impairing one of the main astrocyte function, known to be similarly altered in both species, and determine if this manipulation in rodent can mimic the depressive-like effects of chronic stress. This highly translational work will help identifying novel mechanisms involved in the neurobiology of depression and pave the way for the identification of new targets for the development of novel treatments of depression and stress-related illness.