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.

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 in young adulthood. 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).


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

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).

Mareckova K, Marecek R, Andryskova L, Brazdil M, Nikolova Y (2020). Maternal depressive symptoms during pregnancy and brain age in young adult offspring: Findings from a prenatal birth cohort, Cerebral Cortex, 30 (7).

Mareckova K, Pacinkova A, Klasnja A, Shin J, Andryskova L, Stano-Kozubik K, Pausova Z, Brazdil M, Paus T (2020). The epigenetic clock as a correlate of anxiety, NeuroImage: Clinical, 28.

Goldstein JM, Cohen JE, Mareckova K, Holsen L, Whitfield-Gabrieli S, Gilman SE, Buka SL, 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).

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