Genes, Environment and Behaviour Group

Our group is up for the challenge of understanding the brain to help find better treatments for people affected by mental health conditions. We study neurological and psychiatric disorders, such as Huntington’s disease, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. Our aim is to identify pathogenic mechanisms and new therapeutic targets by investigating these conditions on the molecular, cellular and behavioural level.

Research interests

  • Huntington’s disease
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Depression and anxiety disorders
  • Environmental factors (stress, exercise)
  • Neuropsychopharmacology

  • Rodent behavioural studies
  • Pharmacological and environmental interventions
  • Immunochemistry
  • Omics

About our research

Our research includes models of specific neurological conditions (e.g. Huntington’s disease and other dementias) and psychiatric disorders, including, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders. We investigate behavioural, cellular and molecular levels in order to identify pathogenic mechanisms and novel therapeutic targets.

Current projects aim to understand how environmental and lifestyle factors (e.g. stress) directly and indirectly impact behaviour, cognition and physiology via molecular and cellular changes in the brain as well as in periphery (e.g. gut microbiota). Along with exploring the mechanisms driving the beneficial effects of physical exercise our projects aim to identify new targets for future therapies.

Research team

Research team head

Headshot_Thibault Renoir

Dr Thibault Renoir

Group Head

Team members

PhD students

  • Carey Wilson
  • James Gattuso

Masters students

  • Alex Fraser
  • Nina Kleditzsch

Selected publications

  • Mees I, Li S, Tran H, Ang C S, Williamson NA, Hannan AJ and Renoir T (2022), ‘Phosphoproteomic dysregulation in Huntington’s disease mice is rescued by environmental enrichment’, Brain Communications, 4(6), doi:10.1093/braincomms/fcac305
  • Uzungil V, Tran H, Aitken C, Wilson C, Opazo C, Li S, Payet JM, Mawal CH, Bush AI, Hale MW, Hannan AJ and Renoir T (2022), ‘Novel antidepressant-like properties of the iron chelator deferiprone in a mouse model of depression’, Neurotherapeutics, 19(5):1662–1685, doi:10.1007/s13311-022-01257-0
  • Wilson C, Rogers J, Chen F, Li S, Adlard PA, Hannan AJ and Renoir T (2021), ‘Exercise ameliorates aberrant synaptic plasticity without enhancing adult-born cell survival in the hippocampus of serotonin transporter knockout mice’, Brain Structure & Function, 226(6):1991–1999, doi:10.1007/s00429-021-02283-y
  • Dubois C, Kong G, Tran H, Li S, Pang TY, Hannan AJ and Renoir T (2021), ‘Small non-coding RNAs are dysregulated in Huntington’s disease transgenic mice independently of the therapeutic effects of an environmental intervention, Molecular Neurobiology, 58(7):3308–3318, doi:10.1007/s12035-021-02342-9
  • Wilson C, Li S, Hannan AJ and Renoir T (2020), ‘Antidepressant-like effects of ketamine in a mouse model of serotonergic dysfunction’, Neuropharmacology, 168:107998, doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2020.107998

Contact us

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