Joyce Yau

Senior Lecturer

  • Centre for Cardiovascular Science

Contact details



The Queen's Medical Research Institute
47 Little France Crescent

Post code
EH16 4TJ

Research summary

Glucocorticoid hormones released as part of the stress response play an important role in the normal function and homeostasis of the brain. Whereas elevated glucocorticoid levels are essential for surviving stress, prolonged exposure to stress levels of glucocorticoids can have detrimental effects and may increase the risk of disease. Large individual differences in cognitive abilities are found among aged individuals. One factor thought to contribute to this heterogeneity is stress exposure throughout life. Studies in both humans and animals have found that age-related memory decline associates with chronically elevated blood glucocorticoid levels. My research focuses on (i) the role of brain glucocorticoids generated by the 11beta-HSD1 enzyme in the regulation of learning and memory; (ii) how stressful life events particularly in vulnerable periods of the adult lifespan such as midlife affects the ageing brain; and (iii) therapeutic interventions to prevent or ameliorate age- and stress-related cognitive dysfunction.

Research activities

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