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Studying Stress, Melissa Manners Researches how to Offset Negative Effects

By Nicole Carrera

Published on October 28, 2020

Melissa Manners, PhD, and her laboratory are devoting their time to researching something that everyone can relate to- stress. 

“I’m interested in cellular mechanisms in the brain that are changing due to acute or chronic stress,” said Dr. Manners, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience. “All of us feel stress in our lives, but we have different outcomes from stress. What I’m interested in is the mechanisms that underlie changes in our brain due to stressful conditions.”

Dr. Manners is interested in determining how stress impacts our neurobiology, and what factors influence resilience versus susceptibility to stress. The molecular mechanisms that are identified will inform the development of therapies for psychological disorders that are impacted by stress.

"In this lab we do work at the crossroads of systems, behavioral and molecular level neuroscience."

-- Melissa Manners, PhD

Working in Manners’ lab allows students to experience the interdisciplinary nature of neuroscience. Dr. Manners shares that students are able to investigate the impacts of stress through many lenses. “In this lab we do work at the crossroads of systems, behavioral and molecular level neuroscience,” she said.

Abby White, Neuro’22, works with Dr. Manners in the lab, and has found a deep interest in the topic of stress. By working in the lab, running experiments, and writing various articles for publication, White hopes to enter academia to have her own lab like Dr. Manners to incorporate stress and related topics into her own research. 

White also recognizes that value that working in a lab brings, and encourages fellow and future students to work in a lab if possible. “Working in this lab is definitely vital to my future endeavors,” White said. “I would definitely recommend working in the lab. Even if you do not think that you would want to work in a lab for the rest of your life you gain a lot of different skills.”

Dr. Manners only recently established her lab, but has been working hard to make a lasting mark.

“Our first year was slightly disrupted by the pandemic, but we’re pushing through and trying to get our first paper out, a first review article, and a first primary literature article as well,” she said.  “We’re really forging forward and trying to make our mark in the field of neuroscience.”

Categories: News, Misher College of Arts and Sciences, Neuroscience, Faculty, Students, Research