Klára Marečková Group

Early-life Predictors of Mental Health in Young Adulthood

Klára Marečková is a senior researcher at Brain and Mind Research, Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) and at the Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic. She received her M.Sc. in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging at the University of Nottingham in 2009 and Ph.D. in Psychology in 2013. Her early postdoctoral research with prof. Jill Goldstein’s team at Harvard Medical School provided her with further training in clinical neuroscience and sex differences. Obtaining Marie Curie Individual Fellowship allowed her to fund her own line of research on Biomarkers and underlying mechanisms of vulnerability to depression. She conducted the first neuroimaging follow-up of the ELSPAC prenatal birth cohort and showed for the first time that prenatal stress has a long-lasting impact on brain structure, which may in turn, increase the risk for depression in young adult offspring. Moreover, she secured funding from the Czech Health Research Council to conduct the second neuroimaging follow-up of this prenatal birth cohort five years later and establish her own research group to study the trajectories of brain health. In November 2023, Dr. Marečková was honored with the GAČR Junior Star grant, entitled "Prenatal Programming of Child’s Brain and Behavior: Novel Insights into the Mechanisms (ChiBra)", which will allow her team to focus on inflammation and accelerated epigenetic aging as the possible mechanisms underlying the relationship between maternal health during pregnancy and child’s neurodevelopment.

About the postdoctoral position: Dr. Marečková is looking for postdocs with expertise in magnetic resonance imaging and/or epigenetics to join her team at the Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, and study the early-life predictors of mental health. The postdoc will work on 30 years’ worth of data on the European Longitudinal Study of Pregnancy and Childhood (ELSPAC) prenatal birth cohort. The mother–child dyads were followed up regularly since the first half of pregnancy, and structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, epigenetic, anthropometric and behavioral data were collected at two timepoints in young adulthood (age 23-24, age 28-29). Moreover, the postdocs are also welcome to join the team and study the role of inflammation and accelerated epigenetic aging in the pregnant mother on neurodevelopment of children (age 6) from the CELSPAC: The Next Generation (TNG) study.


Mareckova K, Marecek R, Jani M, Zackova L, Andryskova L, Brazdil M, Nikolova Y (2023). Associations of maternal depression during pregnancy and recent stress with brain age among adult offspring. JAMA Network Open, 6(1), e2254581.

Mareckova K, Pacinkova A, Marecek R, Sebejova L, Izakovicova Holla L, Klanova J, Brazdil M, Nikolova YS (2023). Longitudinal study of epigenetic aging and its relationship with brain aging and cognitive skills in young adulthood. Front Aging Neurosci, 15, 1215957.

Mareckova K, Marecek R, Andryskova L, Brazdil M, Nikolova Y (2022). Impact of prenatal stress on amygdala anatomy in young adulthood: Timing and location matter, Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 7(2), 231-238.

Cermakova P, Andryskova L, Brazdil M, Mareckova K (2022). Socioeconomic deprivation in early life and symptoms of depression and anxiety in young adulthood: mediating role of hippocampal connectivity. Psychological Medicine, 52(13), 2671-2680.

Goldstein JM, Cohen JE, Mareckova K, Holsen L, Whitfield-Gabrieli S, […], Horing M (2021). Impact of prenatal maternal cytokine exposure on sex differences in brain circuitry regulating stress reactivity in offspring 45 years later. PNAS, 118 (15).

Mareckova K, Klasnja A, Bencurova P, Andryskova L, Brazdil M, Paus T. (2019). Prenatal stress, mood and gray matter volume in young adulthood, Cerebral Cortex, 29(3), 1244-1250.

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