Dr. Bruce McEwen was inducted into Nu Rho Psi at the 2017 Annual Member Meeting and Social in Washington, DC. He is an Alfred E. Mirsky Professor and Principle Investigator of the Harold & Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at The Rockefeller University, New York.’
Bruce S. McEwen obtained his Ph.D. in Cell Biology in 1964 from the Rockefeller University. Dr. McEwen’s prodigious career since then has defined him as one of the most significant and influential figures in our understanding of “Stress and the Brain.” He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Council on the Developing Child. He served as President of the Society for Neuroscience in 1997-1998 and co-authored the books “The End of Stress as We Know It” (2002) and “The Hostage Brain” (1994). For over 40 years, Dr. McEwen has mentored and trained many young scientists (32 doctoral students; 89 postdocs), including Robert Sapolsky, Michael Meaney, Elizabeth Gould, Victoria Luine, Neil MacLusky, Roberta Brinton, Catherine Woolley, Heather Cameron, Carl Denef and Ron de Kloet. His professional awards and honors include two different Society’s Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Dr. McEwen’s research contributions to our understanding of “Stress and the Brain” are world-recognized. His laboratory was the first to discover adrenal steroid receptors in the hippocampus, providing a basis for future research on how circulating steroid hormones and other systemic mediators affect cognition, mood, and many other neural processes. His lab also “rediscovered” dentate gyrus neurogenesis, demonstrating that chronic stress reduces neuron count and remodels dendrites and granule cell neurons in ways that differ between the sexes. Later, his lab led the way in demonstrating how gonadal steroids work to affect the entire brain, starting with the hippocampus. Beyond the hippocampus, he has demonstrate stress-induced remodeling of neurons of the medial prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortex as well as basolateral and medial amygdala, in which the healthy brain shows resilience after stress is over. This work led to the idea that stress hormone effects are biphasic – protective in the short run and potentially damaging in the long run – embodies in the now widely used concepts of allostasis and allostatic load/overload that he helped to develop. His laboratory is currently looking at epigenetic effects of acute and chronic stressors on depression and anxiety-related behavior, as well as other cognitive functions.