Translational Behavioural Neuroscience

Group 72
Leader: Éva Mikics

The research laboratory was established in 2018. Our lab conducts behavioral neuroscience research with a translational approach. We aim to better understand the neurobiological background of mental disorders using animal models in order to identify potential targets for novel treatment strategies. Our work is mainly focused on the long-term effects of early-life stress, i.e. how early adverse factors contribute to vulnerability for the development of specific mental disorders.

Currently we study:

  1. cognitive traits and functional neuroanatomical correlates predicting susceptibility to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder;
  2. neurobiological and behavioral changes induced by perinatal asphyxia, with a focus on cognitive deficits;
  3. the role of epigenetic and neuroplasticity-related changes induced by the early-life social adversities in the development of abnormal aggression and social disturbances in adulthood.

In our ’top-down’ approach, we combine detailed behavioral characterization with neuroanatomical and molecular techniques, i.e. hormonal measurements, gene expression (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemical analyses. For causality testing, we complement our studies with additional optogenetic, chemogenetic and pharmacological manipulations.

Ongoing research grants:

  • Hungarian Brain Research Program (NAP) 2017-1.2.1-NKP-2017-00002 Cognitive vulnerability in posttraumatic stress (Éva Mikics)
  • NKFIH K125390 Early social disturbances induced abnormal aggression: epigenetic and neural plasticity-related changes (Éva Mikics)
  • NKFIH FK128191 Trauma-induced changes of the endocannabinoid system in circuits regulating fear responses and their involvement in the behavioral outcome of trauma exposure (Manó Aliczki)
  • NKFIH FK129296 Threat detection in the bed nucleus of stria terminalis: dissection of specific neuronal populations mediating innate and learned fear (Máté Tóth)

Lab members:

Éva MikicsGroup Leader, Senior Research Fellow
Manó AliczkiSenior Research Fellow
László BiróAssistant Research Fellow
Zsolt BorhegyiSenior Research Fellow
Máté TóthSenior Research Fellow
Zoltán Kristóf VargaAssistant Research Fellow
Brigitta MolnárTechnician
Biborka BruzsikPhD Student
Christina MiskolcziPhD Student
László SzentePhD Student
Orsolya HorváthUndergraduate Student
Imola MihaleczUndergraduate Student
Diána PejtsikUndergraduate Student
Rebeka Sárosdi KláraUndergraduate Student
Huba Szebik Undergraduate Student
Lívia SzőkeUndergraduate Student