Behavioural and Stress Studies

Group 71
Leaders: Dóra Zelena


Our main research focus is the different laboratory models of human disorders for studying the neurobiological background as well as to develop potential therapies. We are especially interested in stress-related psychopathologies. In order to mimic the clinical problems as closely as possible, several new behavioral models were developed.

Research performed by the group is multidisciplinary with high translational value. Our subjects are laboratory rats and mice, but we are collaborating with groups conducting studies on human subjects, too. The main target of this collaboration is the postraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Detailed behavioural phenotyping is conducted and endocrinological techniques are employed to characterize the hormonal consequences of stressors. Stress-induced changes in autonomic arousal and its correlation with behavioral dysfunctions is studied by in vivo biotelemetry. Brain mechanisms are examined by immunohistochemical, PCR and by opto- and chemogenetic and epigenetic techniques. Recently we turned also to hypothesis-free testing in the field of glycobiology and metabolomics. Finally, the possibilities of pharmacological intervention are explored by behavioral pharmacological studies that are based on the locally-discovered neural correlates and mechanisms that underlie stress-induced behavioral dysfunctions. The group is involved in drug development programs initiated locally or performed on request by pharmaceutical companies.

Along these lines we have three main ongoing projects:

  1. Changes in glycome profile in PTSD resilient and vulnerable rats in comparison with human samples.
  2. The differential role of median and dorsal raphe in social behaviour using Cre mice-lines and opto- and well as pharmacogenetic techniques.
  3. The role of prefrontal connections in agression studied in rats by optogenetic and tracing techniques.

Excerpt from the Guidebook of the Institute 2015.

Lab members:

NamePosition
Dóra ZelenaGroup Leader, Senior Research Fellow
József HallerScientific Advisor
Bodóné Eszter SiposAssociated Research Fellow
Gyimesiné Katalin PelczerTechnician
Bibiána TörökPhD Student
Bellardie ManonUndergraduate Student
Csilla FazekasUndergraduate Student
Hanga Réka HorváthUndergraduate Student
Bálint Szóllóssy-CsomaUndergraduate Student