Vanessa Stempel gets awarded a three-year grant for her research of maladaptive behavioural plasticity after traumatic stress

January 20, 2023

We are pleased to announce that Vanessa Stempel, Max Planck Research Group Leader at the MPI for Brain Research, receives a research award of 150,000 Euros from the Behrens-Weise Foundation for her research on synaptic and neuronal network mechanisms of maladaptive behavioural plasticity after traumatic stress.

Most humans experience a traumatic event at least once in their lifetime, with four percent suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Vanessa Stempel’s research aims to study how those neuronal networks, which in healthy mammals gate defensive behavioural decisions, undergo maladaptive synaptic changes in response to traumatic experiences. This study intends to provide a mechanistic understanding of experience-dependent adaptations of defensive behaviours that are a hallmark of PTSD.

The Behrens-Weise-Foundation supports projects of the Max Planck Society in the field of biology, genetics, and medicine. The funds come from the assets of Anna Weise († 1984), sole heir of Hans Wilhelm Behrens, who was the owner of the Mitteldeutsche Kohlehandelsgesellschaft in Gera, Germany. As a supporting member of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and later of the Max Planck Society, Anna Weise decided - without children herself - to transfer her assets to a foundation that would support projects of the Max Planck Society aimed at improving and maintaining human health.

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