We are delighted to announce that a BBSRC project grant of >£1.3m has been awarded to a research team at the University of Manchester (Dr Reinmar Hager, Prof. Mike Harte, Dr Jo Glazier) and King’s College London (Dr Anthony Vernon); shown in picture below from left to right, respectively.

BBSRC grant 2024

The project entitled “Inflammation-induced neuro-epigenetic mechanisms of resilience and susceptibility to maternal immune activation” will investigate why, following infection during pregnancy and ensuing maternal immune activation, some offspring go on to develop neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and cognitive deficits later in life, while others appear resilient. While not directly linking to neural tube defects, it does highlight the profound influence of the pre-natal environment on the programming of neurodevelopment, and its underlying vulnerability to a perturbed or suboptimal maternal environment. This concept, and the neuro-epigenetic mechanisms by which maternal immune activation might lead to dysfunctional regulation of neurodevelopment, is a focus of their recent review: Woods RM et al. (2023) Maternal immune ­activation and role of placenta in the prenatal programming of neurodevelopmental disorders. Neuronal Signalling 7(2): NS20220064. DOI: 10.1042/NS20220064

We wish the research team (including our SRHSB Honorary Secretary, Dr Jo Glazier) every success with the project and congratulate them on their grant award success!