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Personal profile

Research interests

My research group investigates how the organism responds and adapts to stressful events.

Major research interests are:

  1. The signalling, epigenetic and genomic mechanisms in the brain underlying stress-related learning and memory processes.

  2. The regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis under baseline and stress conditions.

  3. The physiological and neurobiological mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of voluntary exercise on stress coping, HPA axis regulation, and anxiety-related and cognitive behaviour.


My research group investigates how the organism responds and adapts to stressful events. The emphasis is on how we learn and form memories of emotionally stressful events in our lives so we can respond better if such events should reoccur.

Our research programme addresses the role of signalling, epigenetic and genomic processes in the brain in the consolidation of adaptive behavioural responses and memory. Furthermore, we are investigating the role of adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus in these processes and responses.

Behavioural responses and memory formation are investigated in the forced swim test, Morris water maze learning and contextual fear conditioning. Our neuroanatomical and molecular expertise includes immuno-fluorescence analysis, lentiviral technology (in collaboration with Professor James Uney (UoB)) and state-of-the-art epigenetic methods such as chromatin-immuno-precipitation (nChIP, xChIP), next generation Illumina sequencing and bisulfite sequencing (in collaboration with Dr. Jon Mill, King’s College London).

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Research Output

  • 118 Article (Academic Journal)
  • 6 Chapter in a book
  • 2 Conference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

Unexpected effects of metyrapone on corticosteroid receptor interaction with the genome and subsequent gene transcription in the hippocampus of male rats

Kennedy, C. LM., Carter, S. D., Mifsud, K. R. & Reul, J. M. H. M., Feb 2020, In : Journal of Neuroendocrinology. 32, 2, 12 p., e12820.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

  • Mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptor-mediated control of genomic responses to stress in the brain

    Mifsud, K. R. & Reul, J. M. H. M., 4 Apr 2018, In : Stress. p. 1-14 14 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

    Open Access
  • 10 Citations (Scopus)
    281 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 3 Citations (Scopus)
    226 Downloads (Pure)

    Supervised Work

    An investigation into the genomic actions of glucocorticoid binding receptors in the rat brain following acute stress and circadian influences

    Author: Kennedy, C. L., 23 Jan 2020

    Supervisor: Reul, J. M. H. M. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)