James Poulets’ project awarded ERC Advanced Grant

April 11, 2024 | MDC Press release No. 10

Source: Max Delbrück Center Press report

Maintaining a healthy body temperature

The ERC has awarded Max Delbrück Center neuroscientist Professor James Poulet a €2.5 million Advanced Grant to study the relationship between core body temperature in mammals and their perceptions of external temperature. Poulet’s research is basic in nature and focuses on understanding how the healthy brain functions.

With his Advanced Grant, Poulet and his colleagues will compare human and mouse, which are warm-blooded, to naked mole-rats, which are cold-blooded, to identify the cellular networks that integrate sensory and core body-state information. The researchers plan to use a combination of techniques that include neural recordings and anatomical tracing, which identifies connections between brain areas.

Poulet’s lab also plans to study individual differences in core body temperature and how they contribute to differences in perception of external temperature – a phenomenon that may explain why one person might feel the need to wear a jacket when the outside temperature is 15 degrees Celsius, while another is comfortable in a T-shirt.

Although the research will have implications for diseases that involve disrupted physiology, Poulet is more focused on studying how the brain works. “Understanding the healthy brain is how we’re going to solve brain diseases in the long term,” he says.

Poulet is “happily surprised and excited,” at having won an Advanced Grant. “It’s a real honor.”

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