Dr. Nicole Strüber, Dipl. Biol., Neurobiologist and science author
Dr. rer. nat. Nicole Strüber studied biology with a focus on neurobiology and a minor in psychology in Bremen. After several years of parental leave with twins, she did her doctorate with Prof. Gerhard Roth with an interdisciplinary dissertation on the impact of early experiences for brain development and the development of mental disorders (2008 - 2012). She then worked as a research assistant at the Brain Research Institute in Bremen for three years. Together with Prof. Roth, she published the non-fiction book "How the brain makes the soul" in 2014. The first book of her own followed in 2016: “First attachment. How parents shape the development of the child's brain”. Another book was published last year: “Risk childhood. Understanding the development of the brain and promoting resilience”. Dr. Nicole Strüber is currently employed as a university teacher in the midwifery course at the university of applied sciences “hochschule21” in Buxtehude and is also a freelance science writer and lecturer.
Why do early stress experiences make us vulnerable for mental disorders and why do experiences of secure attachment protect us? Insights into brain development
Early experiences of a child, together with its individual genetic makeup, influence the chemistry and the connectivity of the brain. This in turn affects how it will deal with high demands later in life, how effectively it can regulate its emotions and whether it feels comfortable in relationships. Numerous research results show that prenatal and early childhood stress experiences shape the development of the brain in a way that increases the risk of developing mental illnesses. Secure attachment experiences, on the other hand, can compensate for the negative effects on brain development in the presence of genetic predisposition or prenatal stress and create resources that help people deal with later traumatic or chronic stress experiences appropriately.
Taking psychology and neurobiology into account, this lecture elucidates mechanisms by which brain and mental state are shaped by early experiences. The role of epigenetics as well as neuroplasticity will be described vividly and comprehensibly. The audience will find that there are promising approaches today to explain biologically the early and sometimes disadvantageous shaping of a person's mental state.