16 November 2023

Florence Kermen receives the Kavli Exploration Award

Heat Stress

As climate change leads to more frequent and severe heatwaves, humans and animals must cope with heat stress. Florence Kermen aims to analyze the brain’s molecular, cellular, and circuit-level mechanisms for resilience to heat stress in zebrafish.

Florence Kermen

Seven international researchers are recipients of the Neurobiology and Changing Ecosystems Kavli Exploration Awards. Three different projects will pursue novel investigations into how nervous systems may enable organisms, such as crustaceans, cephalopods, and zebrafish, to adapt to environmental challenges, including warming oceans, extreme weather events such as heatwaves, and other environmental perturbations that may have influences on neurophysiology and behavior.

Mechanisms of brain resilience and adaptation to heat (award period: 2024-2028)

Florence Kermen and her team will examine how specific cells in the brain, neurons, and astrocytes, respond to heat - and then test whether changing astrocyte activity affects the fish’s ability to handle heat. The study will also characterize molecular changes in the brain that allow organisms to adapt to higher temperatures, which is crucial for many species in a warming world. These findings will have broad implications for how climate change affects behavior and adaptability in cold-blooded animals, particularly teleosts like zebrafish.

See the video of Florence explaining her project and read the full article about the Kavli Exploration Award.