The Brain & Body Under Social Stress

Social hierarchies, medication, andn resilience can affect how mice —and humans— respond to social stress. In this podcast, animal researcher Scott Russo and psychiatrist John Depierro discuss these issues and more.


[00:00:00] Stephen Calabria: From the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, this is Road to Resilience, a podcast about facing adversity. I'm Stephen Calabria. Today we have a special edition of Road to Resilience to celebrate publication of the third edition of the book that inspired this show's creation.

[00:00:18] The book is called Resilience, The Science of Mastering Life's Greatest Challenges, which can be found on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

[00:00:25] The newest edition was composed in part by John Depierro, Ph. D., an associate professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Depierro is also the associate director of the Center for Stress, Resilience, and Personal Growth, which provides comprehensive programming to support the resilience and mental health of Mount Sinai faculty, staff, and trainees.

[00:00:46] Today on Road to Resilience, Dr. Depierro interviews Scott Russo, PhD, a professor of neuroscience and director of the Center for Affective Neuroscience, and the Brain Body Research Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

[00:01:01] Dr. Russo delves into how his study of mouse models offers clues into how humans may bolster and maintain their resilience. We're honored to have Doctors Depierro and Russo on the show.

[00:01:13] Jon Depierro: Hello, my name is Dr. Jonathan Depierro. I'm an associate professor here at the Icahn School of Medicine and associate director of our Center for Stress, Resilience and Personal Growth, and I'm here today in the studio with Dr. Scott Russo, my colleague from Mount Sinai. So I'm going to kick it over to Scott. Maybe you could introduce yourselves to listeners.

[00:01:32] Scott Russo: Sure, Jonathan. Thank you very much. As Jonathan mentioned, my name is Scott Russo. I'm a professor of neuroscience here at Mount Sinai, a close colleague of Jonathan's, very interested in aspects of resilience and particularly to better understand the neurobiology of resilience, which is what my research program focuses on.

[00:01:50] I also direct the Center for Affective Neuroscience, which brings together clinicians and basic scientists centered around topics such as, for example, resilience other important mental health- related issues. So I'm happy to be here. Thank you again for having me.

[00:02:04] Jon Depierro: So you have a lot going on.

[00:02:05] Scott Russo: Yeah, it's okay. And two kids, so that also helps.

[00:02:09] Jon Depierro: So your work focuses on largely mouse models of stress and trauma and resilience.

[00:02:16] Scott Russo: We use a combination. I mean, my personal feeling is, is that when studying psychiatric illnesses, particularly depression, where a lot of the clinical data relies on self-report, I think using animal models in isolation where you can't rely on that type of self report, could be very limiting.

[00:02:34] So typically, the way that we start our projects is, through wonderful collaborative ties with psychiatry here, we start by analyzing biomarkers or brain mechanisms of psychiatric illness and then we take that back to our mouse models and study stress susceptibility in that context.

[00:02:50] So we use information that we gain from human cases of psychiatric illness and we then translate that back to relevant animal models.

[00:02:58] For things like depression and anxiety, for example, we use chronic stress and apply that to our animals as a way to kind of elicit symptoms and syndromes that we think are relevant to human illness.

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