Published: 20-11-2023 09:11 | Updated: 20-11-2023 16:52

Cristiana Cruceanu has been awarded the Swedish Research Council's establishment grant.

Photo of pregnant woman.
Photo: iStock.

KI researcher Cristiana Cruceanu has been awarded the Swedish Research Council's establishment grant for the research project "The placenta as a mediator of the effects of psychological stress on neurodevelopmental reprogramming: lessons from human in vitro model systems." The Swedish Research Council's establishment grant amounts to 6 million over four years.

What is the overall goal of your research?

Cristiana Cruceanu
Cristiana Cruceanu. Photo: N/A.

"I am extremely grateful for the support we have received from the Swedish Research Council, aimed at understanding how environmental influences transmitted from the mother during pregnancy impact health outcomes for the developing child," says Cristiana Cruceanu , research group leader at  the Department of physiology and. Pharmacology , Karolinska Institutet.

"In the Cruceanu laboratory, we are primarily interested in neurodevelopment and psychiatry, recognizing that health and disease within these areas are associated with prenatal influences. However, our understanding of how specific molecules are transferred from the mother to the child to reach the developing brain is very limited. For this reason, we want to investigate a often overlooked organ: the placenta."

"This fascinating and temporary organ plays a crucial role in crossing, filtering, and blocking various molecules (nutrients, hormones, drugs, etc.). With this project, we aim to understand how the placenta protects the fetus from harmful substances and what happens to the developing brain when this protection is faulty or incomplete."

How will the grant be used?

"This four-year grant will enable the establishment of a relatively new research line in the laboratory. We need to establish both the technical expertise and innovation required to achieve our goal, as well as find the necessary personnel to carry it out. So the first thing I will do is recruit a postdoctoral researcher and then a Ph.D. student."

"We have most of the equipment and facilities in place at Biomedicum. , so we just need motivated and creative individuals to join the lab. Hopefully, others are as interested in the placenta's role in neuro-psychiatry as I am."