New lab will study the development of emotional circuit neurons

Esther Klingler joins CBD as a new PI

Credits DALL.E from OpenAI obtained with the keywords: “development of emotional circuit neurons, painting”
Credits DALL.E from OpenAI obtained with the keywords: “development of emotional circuit neurons, painting”

We welcome Esther Klingler as a new group leader at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research and professor at the Department of Neurosciences at KU Leuven. Esther will also be a member of the Leuven Brain Institute. Esther will move from Switzerland to Leuven to start her lab, which will study the developmental trajectories of emotional circuit neurons. We caught up with Esther during these busy times to get to know her.

Esther Klingler
Esther Klingler

You're from France, you've been working in Switzerland for the past eight years, and now you're moving to Belgium. What are you most looking forward to about living here?

"I'm looking forward to getting involved in the fantastic scientific environment here in Leuven. This is the reason why I decided to come here."

You're starting a new lab at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research. What's your vision for it? What are you excited about?

"I'm excited to conduct my own research project and to explore novel avenues about how emotional circuits develop, and how their development depends on environmental factors. I'm really looking forward to using state-of-the-art approaches that I've been developing and using over the past years during my postdoc in Geneva to address such new questions."

How did you get into this field of research?

"In high school, whether or not you fall in love with a topic tends to depend on how good your teacher is. And my biology teacher was incredible. She really triggered my love for biology. I even invited her to my PhD defense, to tell her: it's thanks to you that I'm here! It was then during my postdoc that I moved into transcriptomics and connectomics, and how to link gene expression with axon targeting."

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

"I'm particularly proud of having the chance to come here! Starting my lab at the Center is an amazing opportunity."

Do you have any tips for young researchers starting their careers in science?

"My advice is to practice patience and perseverance. ​ It's easy to lose patience when things go slower than you plan, and you ask yourself, "Is it really worth the effort?" But once it's done and you reach your goal, you realize that, yes, it was worth it."

What attracted you most to our Center?

"When I came to visit, I was struck by the supportive research community here. I also love the strength of the interactions between the teams within the institution, but also between departments and other collaborations. I know I won't be alone!"

What's your life like outside of the lab?

"I spend time with my husband and my young daughter. I also enjoy yoga and hiking in my free time. I imagine I'll be cycling a lot more once moving to Belgium!"

Read more about Esther's lab

Want to join the new Klingler lab? 👉 Apply here

Bethan Burnside

Bethan Burnside

Neuroscience Communicator, VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research



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