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New addition to neurosciences research team

20 May 2014

Photograph of Dr Stephane Baudouin

Dr Stéphane Baudouin has joined the School of Biosciences as part of a Sêr Cymru science initiative launched by the Welsh Government.  The aim of this initiative is to recruit young, talented scientists following their own research programmes while directly benefiting from the new environment made possible by the appointment of Yves Barde to the School of Biosciences as Sêr Cymru Research Chair in Neurobiology.

Stéphane, who works on the molecular basis of autism, has already been recognized by the “Junior Debiopharm Group Life Sciences Award” 2013, a prestigious distinction attributed to young, outstanding biologists working in Switzerland. During his postdoctoral studies in Peter Scheiffele’s laboratory at the Biozentrum in Basel, Stéphane analysed neuronal defects to identify discrete synaptic pathophysiology in mouse models of autism. During the course of his work, he managed to identify an unexpected convergence of pathway between different forms of autism, thereby uncovering common synaptic dysfunctions. Stephane’s work is at the leading edge of research into the pathophysiology of autism in mouse models, which paves the way for the development of novel therapeutic strategies.

His project is naturally embedded in Cardiff scientific culture and environment, and strengthens the existing neurosciences community by adding a new piece to the complex puzzle of psychiatric disorders research.  Stephane’s recruitment is therefore a chance to develop innovative and challenging scientific projects at Cardiff University within the supporting environment of the Neurosciences Research Division augmented by Prof Barde’s appointment.  Yves joined the School in September 2013 and has since recruited post-doctoral fellows and PhD students to his group now working in fully re-equipped laboratory space in the Sir Martin Evans building on Museum Avenue.

In Cardiff, Stephane will now study the neuronal underpinnings of social behaviour and social abnormalities in psychiatric disorders. Social skills are necessary to form and maintain social interactions and to define relationship among individuals. Dysfunction of such skills is thought to lead to severe psychiatric disorders, including autism.  To dissect the complex biology of social abilities his plan is to first define the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying specific social skills then to analyse the role of these skills in complex social behaviour.