Dr Sylvane Desrivières
Over the course of her career she has applied expertise in genetics and molecular and cell biology to understand how gene activity controls biological functions in organisms and systems of increasing complexity, from individual cells and unicellular organisms to organs, such as the mammary gland, and finally to the human brain.
Since little is known about the genetic bases of brain structure and function, she has combined the tremendous advantages of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with genetics and molecular biological approaches to investigate brain-behaviour relationships and identify genes influencing brain development and function, focusing on typically developing individuals.
She applies MRI to discover the genetic roots of neuroanatomic, neurophysiological and cognitive traits that may be disrupted in individuals suffering from major mental illnesses.
Another aspect of her work is aimed at overall better understanding of the etiology of addiction to alcohol and other drugs and her research helps defining risk factors for alcohol-use disorders later in life, which is fundamental for the prevention of alcohol abuse in adolescents and treatment of alcoholism, both major unmet challenges affecting our health care system and society alike.