Prof. Michael Meaney, Guest speaker at the annual conference of the German Society of Psychology (GSP/DGPs), Subsection Clinical Psychology, in Tübingen 2007 invited by the Klaus Grawe Foundation 2007

Michael Meaney

Prof. Michael Meaney, Ph.D.
McGill University, Montreal
Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery

Michael Meaney specializes in early childhood development. He was one of the first researchers to point out that adversity in early life might alter neural development rendering certain individuals at risk for pathology later on. Early life events play an important role in determining vulnerability or resistance to chronic illness, such as depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and drug abuse. It is his opinion that a mother’s touch may not only be a comforting and pleasant experience for her child, but may also be a trigger by which genes involved in shaping our response to stress get turned on or off. Individual differences in maternal care can modify an offspring’s cognitive development, as well as its ability to cope with stress later in life.

Michael Meaney was one of the first researchers to identify the importance of maternal care in modifying the expression of genes that regulate behavioral and neuro-endocrine responses to stress, as well as hippocampal synaptic development.

Michael Meaney is currently a James McGill professor of Medicine and full professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery. He is also the Director of the Program for the study of Behavior, Genes and Environment at McGill University. Michael Meaney has authored over 180 publications and presented at research institutes, government health agencies, and scientific meetings throughout the world.

Selected Publications

Meaney, M.J. (2001). Maternal care, gene expression, and the transmission of individual differences in stress reactivity across generations. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 24, 1161-1192.

Champagne, F., Diorio, J., Sharma, S., Meaney, M.J. (2001). Variations in maternal care in the rat are associated with differences in estrogen-related changes in oxytocin receptor levels. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 98, 12736-12741.

Francis, D.D., Diorio, J., Liu, D., Meaney, M.J. (1999). Nongenomic transmission across generations in maternal behavior and stress responses in the rat. Science, 286, 1155-1158.