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Genetics and Neurobiology of Stress and Depression Lab

At the Genetics and Neurobiology of Stress and Depression Lab, we study the environmental and genetic contribution to vulnerability to chronic stress and depression.

Our projects investigate:

  • How environmental insult in utero affects the adult organism’s metabolic function, cognitive and affective behavior
  • How this early environmental insult alters epigenetic processes, including imprinting of specific genes in the brain of the developing fetus and the adult
  • Genes that differ in their expression or their sequence between subjects that are vulnerable or resilient to stress
  • Genes that differ in their expression or their sequence between subjects with and without depression

The latter two projects have translational research potential with the goal of identifying blood biomarkers for stress reactivity and resilience and blood biomarkers for depression in humans. The laboratory has developed unique animal models of depression and passive coping, which animal models have been essential in the identification of biological markers and the elucidation of their roles in the etiology of these states. We employ genetic, molecular biological, biochemical and behavioral techniques. The ultimate goal of the laboratory is to identify the genes and mechanisms that contribute to the variation in stress vulnerability and depression and to develop diagnostic tests for stress reactivity and depression.

Our Success


  • Johannesson M, Lopez-Aumatell R, Stridh P, Diez M, Tuncel J, Blazquez G, Martinez E, Canete A, Vicens-Costa E, Graham D, Copley R, Hernandez-Pliego P, Beyeen A, Ockinger J, Fernandez C, Gulko P, Brenner M, Tobena A, Guitart-Masip N, Gimenez-Llort L, Dominiczak A, Holmdahl R, Gauguier D, Olsson T, Mott R, Valdar W, Redei E, Fernandez-Teruel A, Flint J. A resource for the simultaneous high-resolution mapping of multiple quantitative trait loci in rats: the NIH heterogeneous stock. Genome Res. 2009 Jan;19(1):150-8
  • Redei EE. Molecular genetics of the stress-responsive adrenocortical axis. Ann Med. 2008;40(2):139-48
  • Wilcoxon JS, Nadolski GJ, Samarut J, Chassande O, Redei EE. Behavioral inhibition and impaired spatial learning and memory in hypothyroid mice lacking thyroid hormone receptor alpha. Behav Brain Res 177: 109-116, 2007.
  • Solberg LC, Baum AE, Ahmadiyeh N, Shimomura K, Li R, Turek FW, Takahashi JS, Churchill GA, Redei EE. Genetic analysis of the stress-responsive adrenocortical axis. Physiol Genomics 27(3):362-9, 2006.
  • Ahmadiyeh N, Churchill GA, Solberg LC, Baum AE, Shimomura K, Takahashi JS, Redei EE. Lineage is an epigenetic modifier of QTL influencing behavioral coping with stress. Behav Gen 35(2): 189-98, 2005.
  • Slone-Wilcoxon JL, Kuo AG, Disterhoft JF, Redei EE. Behavioral deficits associated with fetal alcohol exposure are reversed by prenatal thyroid hormone treatment: a role for maternal thyroid hormone deficiency in FAE. Mol Psychiatry, 10(10): 961-71, 2005.
  • Baum AE, Solberg LC, Kopp P, Ahmadiyeh N, Chruchill G, Takahashi JS, Jameson JL, Redei EE. Quantitative trait loci associated with elevated TSH in the Wistar-Kyoto rat. Endocrinology 146(2): 870-878, 2005
  • Solberg LC, Baum AE, Ahmadiyeh N, Shimomura K, Li R, Turek FW, Churchill GA, Takahashi JS, Redei EE. Sex-and lineage-specific inheritance of depression-like behavior in the rat. Mamm Genome, 15(8): 648-62, 2004.

Grants & Funding

  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  • Stein Endowment
  • Davee Foundation

Contact Us

Contact Eva E. Redei, PhD, at 312-908-1791 for more information about the Genetics and Neurobiology of Stress and Depression Lab.

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