My main research interest is to understand the disease etiology and pathophysiology of stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders.
On the one hand, my research is focused on genetic risk factors and their interaction with environmental exposures. These potential predisposing factors are addressed using appropriate genetic mouse models, which allow us to directly investigate the physiology of disease-related endophenotypes as well as underlying disease mechanisms.
On the other hand, I am interested in dissecting epigenetic mechanisms and neural stress circuits underlying these disorders. This is of paramount importance since stressful life events, manifesting through epigenetic marks, have repeatedly been associated with an increased risk for developing psychiatric disorders. In this regard, the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) system represents the prototype of a stress circuit whose maladaptation has been causally related to mood and anxiety disorders.
I believe that these endeavors are mandatory for the future development of informative diagnoses and causal therapies.