[PAST EVENT] Lecture with Dr. Brian Dias

October 1, 2015
Washington Hall, Room 201
241 Jamestown Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Traumatic and stressful events undoubtedly impact the physiology and neurobiology of the exposed population and often times catalyze the development of neuropsychiatric disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and phobias. More recently, studies involving descendants of Holocaust survivors, famine-exposed populations, and mothers subjected to abuse, provide evidence that the effects of such trauma and stress extend beyond the ancestral generation. This talk will address our current understanding of the mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders in ancestral and descendant populations, and also discuss therapeutic interventions that range from molecular neuroscience to contemplative traditions like meditation.

Dr. Dias research has investigated the neurobiology underlying stress, depression, social behavior and fear in organisms ranging from rats, lizards and fruit flies to, now, mice. While steeped in rigorous animal behavior, his studies have routinely incorporated molecular, cellular, genetic, epigenetic and physiological levels of analyses.

A graduate of UT-Ausitn, Dr. Dias' current research seeks to understand how trauma impacts the nervous system, physiology and reproductive biology of generations that have directly experienced trauma, as well as descendant generations. Armed with this understanding, he also seeks to devise therapeutic interventions to ameliorate the effects of such trauma on both ancestral and descendant populations. To this end, using the framework provided by classical fear conditioning, Dr. Dias investigates how the biology of an organism and its responsiveness to salient environmental stimuli is influenced by its:

a) micro-environments, e.g., genome, epigenome and hormones; and
b) macro-environments, e.g., ancestral, in utero and post-natal experiences.

Dr. Dias has been featured:
-in Nature
-on the BBC
-in a list of the 10 Most Important Discoveries of 2014 published by La Recherche Magazine