Université de Strasbourg

Tsvetan Serchov

Biography - Tsvetan Serchov

University Medical Center Freiburg, Germany & USIAS Fellow at the Institute of Cellular and Integrative Neuroscience (INCI), University of Strasbourg and CNRS

Tsvetan Serchov, USIAS Fellow 2020Dr. Tsvetan Serchov graduated with a PhD in neuroscience in 2007, as a fellow of the International Graduate School of Neuroscience (Ruhr University Bochum, Germany). As a graduate student, he conducted research on the molecular mechanism of regulation of circadian clock and mouse rhythmic behavior. Dr. Serchov spent his first post-doctoral period at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (IGBMC), Strasbourg. In 2010, he joined the laboratory of Professor Dietrich van Calker (University Medical Center Freiburg, Germany), known for his discovery of the different adenosine receptor types. During this period, Dr. Serchov generated a new transgenic mouse with conditional expression of adenosine A1 receptors, representing a model to study the mechanism of action of sleep deprivation in mood disorders. He moreover identified the induction of the homeostatic synaptic protein Homer1a, as a novel common pathway mediating the effects of several different antidepressant treatments (Serchov et al., 2015, Neuron).

In 2016, Dr. Serchov obtained a grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG) and established an independent research group that focused on revealing the molecular and cellular mechanisms of antidepressant therapy. His recent research findings show that the antidepressant effects of sleep deprivation depend on enhanced glutamatergic signaling. Furthermore, the Serchov laboratory has introduced a new approach utilising peripheral administration of cell-penetrable TAT-peptides, which elicit rapid antidepressant effects, as potential novel therapeutic strategy (Holz et al., 2019, Neuron).

The aim of the current research of Dr. Serchov’s team is to understand the mechanism of action of different non-pharmacological treatments of depression, including chronotherapies and deep brain stimulation.

Dr. Michel Barrot will welcome Tsvetan Serchov at the Institute of Cellular and Integrative Neuroscience (INCI) during his fellowship.

Project - Investigation of the impact of adenosine A1 receptor as mediator of the detrimental effects of chronic sleep loss in the development of depression

01/10/2020 - 30/03/2023

Major depressive disorder is among those disabling mental diseases that are most commonly diagnosed. Dysregulations of sleep and circadian rhythm are associated with its development. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the interaction between sleep disruption and mood regulation remain poorly understood. Acute sleep deprivation (SD) is known to elicit rapid antidepressant effects, whereas chronic sleep loss is considered as a risk factor for depression. However, both acute and chronic SD upregulate adenosine A1 receptor (A1R) expression in various brain regions in rodents and humans. A1R is implicated in the control of sleep and circadian rhythms. While the role of A1R in the antidepressant action of acute SD is now widely appreciated, little is known about its potential role in the detrimental effects of chronic sleep loss.

The Serchov group have developed a transgenic mouse line with inducible upregulation of A1R, which will serve as a valuable model to mimic and explore the effects of chronic sleep loss. The aim is to investigate the hypothesis that enhanced A1R signaling mediates the detrimental effects of chronic sleep restriction on mood. The objective of the USIAS project is to test this hypothesis by studying the effects of chronic sleep restriction and experimental upregulation of A1R function on rhythmic behaviour, sleep regulation and depression-like behaviour; as well as on region-specific circadian gene oscillations and synaptic expression of AMPA receptors, as potential underlying mechanisms.

In this project, the team will combine a wide range of techniques including in vivo brain region-specific viral expression and knockout, sleep EEG recordings and evaluation, investigation of synaptic alterations and glutamatergic signaling, and complex behavioral characterisation by classical tests, as well as by utilising complex experimental paradigms and automatic behavioral analyses in IntelliCage (TSE systems). This project will provide valuable information regarding the molecular and cellular factors implicated in the neurobiology of depression and the effects of sleep loss. Thus, improving our understanding of the role of A1R and the impact of sleep and biological clock in the development of depression may lead to increase of the efficacy of existing treatments and/or to the development of new therapies and preventive strategies for mood and sleep disorders.

Research engineer biography - Carole Marchese

Institute of Cellular and Integrative Neuroscience (INCI), University of Strasbourg and CNRS

Carole Marchese

Carole Marchese validated a Bachelor’s degree in cellular biology and physiology of organisms in 2019, at the Faculty of Life Sciences of the University of Strasbourg (France). In order to enrich her practical skills, she completed a two-month internship within the team “Plasticity of pain control” at the Institute of Cellular and Integrative Neuroscience (INCI), Strasbourg. During the internship, she worked on a research project focusing on the neuro-developmental consequences of early-life stress and, more specifically, on the topic - led by Professor Vincent Lelièvre - of pre-natal stress, and the role of the vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) in cerebral development and nociception.

She subsequently decided to pursue her studies with a Master of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Strasbourg. Her final Master’s thesis was based on a five-month internship in INCI’s research team “Circadian clock, sleep and homeostatic plasticity in mood disorders” directed by Dr. Tsvetan Serchov. The main focus of her study concerned the role that the circadian molecular clock in the prefrontal cortex plays in the neurobiology and treatment of major depressive disorder in a mouse model of chronic despair. After having obtained her Master’s degree, she was fully integrated into the team as research engineer (September 2021), with the aim of extending the focus of the study to other brain structures of interest.

Research engineer biography - Wilf Gardner

Institute of Cellular and Integrative Neuroscience (INCI), University of Strasbourg and CNRS

Wilf Gardner

Wilf Gardner studied at the University of Glasgow (United Kingdom), where he graduated with a BSc with Honours in neuroscience. At the same university, he completed a Master’s degree in biomedical sciences in 2015, where he gained experience in the laboratory of Dr. John Riddell, working on autonomic dysreflexia after spinal cord injury in the rat.

In 2016, he joined the Erasmus Mundus Neurotime project as a PhD student, working between the universities of Freiburg (Germany) and Strasbourg (France). As part of the programme, he worked primarily in the Laboratory of Stereotactic and Interventional Neuroscience at the University Hospital Freiburg, under the supervision of Dr. Máté Döbrössy, spending a year of his studies at the Laboratory of Cognitive and Adaptive Neuroscience (LNCA) at the University of Strasbourg, working with Dr. Lucas Lecourtier. His studies examined the relationship between sleep and major depressive disorder in a rodent model, and the effects of deep-brain stimulation as an anti-depressant treatment. During his studies, he utilised behavioural, molecular and electrophysiological measures.

His main research interest remains psychiatric disorders, and their relationship with sleep. In 2020, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Tsvetan Serchov at the Institute of Cellular and Integrative Neuroscience (INCI), University of Strasbourg to join the USIAS project examining the relationship between sleep, circadian rhythms and depression.

He worked on the USIAS project from October 2020 to September 2021.

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