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Alcohol, fake news: at the source of the danger

Sophie Laguesse is a Doctor of Neuroscience and a Qualified Researcher FNRSin the laboratory of Molecular Regulation of Neurogenesis GIGA-stem Cells, GIGA-Neurosciences). She graduated in biomedical sciences from theULiège. She completed a doctorate in neuroscience on brain development under the supervision of Laurent NguyenResearch Director FNRS (he was our guest on March 3, 2018, see the article dedicated to him on this link). Sophie’s research then focused on the development of the cerebral cortex and led to the identification of a new mechanism responsible for microcephaly.

Sophie Laguesse then pursued her research activities during a post-doctorate at theUniversity of California in San Francisco. This is where she begins to work on alcohol addiction with Dorit Ron. These three years of research are crowned by the identification of a new protein which acts at the level of the “pleasure center” and which promotes compulsive behaviors of alcohol addiction.

When she returned to Belgium, she decided to combine her two favorite subjects: brain development and alcohol addiction. His current research focuses on the effects of alcohol on adolescent brain maturation in the lab of Molecular Regulation of Neurogenesis (GIGA-Cells). The prefrontal cortex is one of the last regions of the brain to mature, around age 21, and is susceptible to severe damage from alcohol consumption. However, this part of the brain controls executive functions, decision-making, emotions. In adulthood, Sophie Laguesse has found that mice who drank alcohol during their adolescence develop anxiety disorders, depressive behaviors and are less able to control their consumption, to the point of developing an addiction. .

Sophie now wants to identify the mechanisms that explain this impact of alcohol on brain development, in particular to develop drugs against alcoholism. Among its projects: contributing to the improvement of prevention among young people.

His research has been rewarded with the Collen-Franqui startup grant (2021-2024) and the Young Inverstigator grant from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (USA).

Sophie Laguesse also participated to the “Binôme” project, which brings together authors and researchers to bring out an artistic work. After meeting the author Hakim Bah to whom she explained her research, he was inspired to write “Cervical Dislocation”, a 30-minute play read by actors from the company “The meaning of words”. It was presented in Avignon in July 2019. The piece addresses, among other things, the researcher’s feelings about animal experimentation.

Consult the article dedicated to Sophie Laguesse in n°123 of the FNRS News on pages 38 and 39.