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Sandrine Thuret

King's College London, England

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Dietary modulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis: Implications for cognitive ageing and dementia


Research over the last 20 years has firmly established that learning and memory abilities as well as mood can be influenced by diet. Although the underlying mechanisms by which diet modulates mental health are not fully understood. One of the brain structures associated with learning, memory and mood is the hippocampus. Interestingly, the hippocampus is one of the rare structures in the adult brain where the formation of newborn neurons -or neurogenesis- persists. The level of neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus is altered with age and has been linked directly to cognitive performance and mood. Therefore, modulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis by diet emerges as a possible mechanism by which nutrition impacts on mental health. During this talk I will present evidence of alteration of neurogenesis during ageing and evidence of cognition and mood being modulated by dietary parameters, which are also responsible for adult hippocampal neurogenesis regulation. This will inform a discussion on the important translational concept that diet, a modifiable lifestyle factor, holds the ability to modulate brain plasticity and function.


Professor Sandrine Thuret is Head of the Neurogenesis & Mental Health Laboratory and Head of the Basic & Clinical Neuroscience Department at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience within King’s College London, UK. She is Director of the UKRI Medical Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership in Biomedical Sciences, and co-Director of the Wellcome-funded PhD programme in Mental Health Research for Health Professionals.   Professor Thuret has a background in bioengineering, molecular, cellular, behavioural and ageing biology. She graduated from the University of Heidelberg, Germany with a PhD in Neuroscience and then did her postdoctoral research at the Salk Institute with Prof. F.H. Gage, CA, USA, where she investigated the role of stem cells in the mammalian central nervous system. Her lab (thuretlab.com) is investigating environmental and molecular regulatory mechanisms controlling the production of new neurons in the adult brain and how these impact mood and memory, in health and disease. Overall, she has made significant novel contributions to our understanding of neural stem cell biology in the context of regeneration, neurodegeneration, mental health and neurogenesis with over 9,000 citations. She is a TED speaker with 14 million views and currently leading two international research consortia on cognitive aging, Alzheimer’s disease and brain plasticity.