Epigenomic programming of brain plasticity and disease risk by ovarian hormones

Event Slider

Several seminars are held weekly at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, an initiative that aims to bring together all researchers around the topics under discussion.

The sessions, with internal researchers or guests, contribute to stimulate the open and extremely collaborative culture of the IGC.

You can read the abstract of this seminar to learn more about it.


Anxiety and depression disorders affect people across genders, although women are at twice the risk for these disorders as men are. In this talk, Dr. Kundakovic will address this sex disparity at both the etiological and mechanistic level. She will discuss the role of fluctuating ovarian hormones as a critical biological factor contributing to the increased depression and anxiety risk in women. Cycling ovarian hormones drive brain and behavioral plasticity in both humans and rodents, and the talk will focus on animal studies in Dr. Kundakovic’s lab that are revealing the molecular and receptor mechanisms that underlie this female-specific brain dynamic. She will highlight a sex hormone-driven epigenetic mechanism, namely chromatin organizational changes, which dynamically regulates neuronal gene expression and brain plasticity but may also prime the (epi)genome for psychopathology. Dr. Kundakovic will also highlight an unconventional role that chromatin dynamics may have in regulating neuronal function across the ovarian cycle, including in sex hormone-driven X chromosome plasticity and hormonally-induced epigenetic priming. Finally, she will map out future directions including human postmortem brain studies that will facilitate novel sex- and gender-informed approaches to treat female-biased disorders including depression and anxiety disorders.


Marija Kundakovic
Department of Biological Sciences, Fordham University, Bronx, NY, USA


Ilana Gabanyi

Cookies settings

Cookies Selection

This website uses cookies to improve your browsing experience, security, and its website performance. We may also use cookies to share information on social media and to display messages and advertisements personalised to your interests, both on our website and in others.