Research Interest: Glucocorticoids and Adaptation to Stress

Onno Meijer

My field of interest is the biology of stress, in particular the effects of stress-related steroid hormones, glucocorticoids. Stress responses are essential for survival of the organism, yet chronic stress is a strong risk factor for pathology, including psychiatric disorders. One of the main coordinating factors in stress is constituted by the glucocorticoids. How does the hormonal component exert its coordinate beneficial action in physiology and how does overexposure put us at risk for (psycho)pathology?

My objective is to elucidate the effects of glucocorticoid hormones under different conditions related to health and disease. My approach is to study cellular effects of these hormones in different brain areas, with emphasis on transcription, and to relate these findings to the physiology of stress responsiveness. The two main perspectives are 1) the understanding of adaptative mechanisms in stress through analysis of the responsiveness to glucocorticoids, and 2) the translation of different molecular modes of action of glucocorticoids into predictions of novel drugs with a more specific action.