Sophie Laguesse and Pierre Maquet receive research funding from the Reine Elisabeth Medical Foundation
Sophie Laguesse is a researcher at the Laboratory of Molecular Regulation of Neurogenesis (GIGA-Stem Cells) and a qualified FNRS researcher. Her research focuses on alcohol addiction and more precisely on the effects of binge-drinking on the maturation of the adolescent brain.
The funded project
"Al(co)teration" (unveiling alcohol-dependent alterations in local mRNA translation and its consequences on the maturation and function of the prefrontal cortex in adolescents).
Adolescence is characterized by intense brain maturation, particularly in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). This brain region controls executive functions, and its relative immaturity in adolescents is responsible for their impulsive behavior, excessive emotionality and increased desire for risk-taking. Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in adolescents, and clinical studies have suggested that early alcohol use may interfere with the maturation of the PFC, leading to behavioral problems that persist into adulthood. However, the mechanisms by which alcohol disrupts PFC function have not yet been elucidated. Alcoholism is seen as a pathological disruption of memory processes. Indeed, alcohol "usurps" the normal mechanisms of memory, by modulating the strength of connections between neurons to associate a pleasurable memory with alcohol consumption. This project aims to understand how alcohol acts on the plasticity of synaptic connections of PFC neurons to induce the development of addiction and associated psychiatric disorders.
Pierre Maquet is a neurologist at the University Hospital of Liege and Research Director at the FNRS. He conducts his research at GIGA-CRC in vivo Imaging, in the Sleep & Chronobiology laboratory.
His work focuses on functional neuroimaging of human sleep using Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Electroencephalography.
The funded project
Quantitative MRI at 7 Tesla addresses ten questions about brain small vessel diseases
The project will use the high resolution and sensitivity of the 7 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging available at ULiège, and unique in Belgium. The aim of the project is to detect small alterations of the brain structure that are induced by micro-lesions and bleeding of the cerebral blood vessels. This type of lesion is undetectable with conventional MRI at 1.5 or 3T and could be the starting point for various neurological disorders (dementia, multiple sclerosis).
The Queen Elisabeth Medical Foundation
More particularly oriented towards neurosciences, the Fondation Médicale Reine Elisabeth supports researchers who, using state-of-the-art techniques, are dedicated to the study of the nervous system, both normal and diseased (sleep, developmental disorders, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, brain aging, dementia, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis ...).
For the period 2023-2025 a substantial annual support of 0,5 Million EURO, is granted to the five inter-university research teams, five research teams and to ten research projects of young researchers.
The awards were presented by Princess Astrid during an academic session at the Royal Palace in Brussels.