Stamatina Tzanoulinou group

Social interactions are fundamental elements of our behavioral repertoire. Their specific properties, whether they are of positive or negative valence, are considered critical for the well-being of social species. Positive or affiliative social interactions are rewarding and beneficial, whereas negative social experiences can have extremely detrimental effects on the individual. Social stress is a highly prevalent traumatic experience, present in multiple contexts, such as war, bullying and interpersonal violence, and it has been linked with increased risk for major depression and anxiety disorders. A stressful or fearful experience activates body and brain circuits to respond to the challenge and then, with time, this response can decrease or in some cases, increase. The response of the individuals to a traumatic event, behavioral, neurobiological or hormonal, is hypothesized to be relevant for stress-related and anxiety disorders, as well as their subtypes, such as delayed-onset post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder and specific phobias.

We are performing basic research, aiming to characterize and understand behavioral and neurobiological aspects of social trauma. Specifically, using behavioral paradigms, optogenetics, chemogenetics and whole-cell patch clamp recordings, our lab aims to advance our understanding regarding social stress and its corresponding brain circuits. We will focus on social stress as it is a particularly relevant and omnipresent form of stress in our society. We aspire that our results will contribute to the refinement and discovery of treatments for trauma-triggered psychopathologies.



Stamatina Tzanoulinou

Assistant Professor

Rue du Bugnon 7 - CH-1005 Lausanne
Tel. +41 21 692 55 00
Fax +41 21 692 55 05