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My research investigates the relationship between developmental manganese and Parkinson's Disease (PD). We are testing whether developmental manganese exposure accelerates the onset or severity of PD using a 6-hydroxydopamine model of PD. Specifically, we are looking for changes in cognition, behavior, and cellular mechanisms associated with the interaction of these factors.
I conduct tests with rats and mice for lab projects and experiments for the Animal Behavior Core. One lab project I work on is to assesses the acute neurotoxicity of a commonly used insecticide (deltamethrin) in young and adult rats. The results will be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency as part of their review and risk assessment process.
My project investigates the long-term effects of binge methamphetamine on brain regions important for learning and memory as well as the long-term cognitive-behavioral consequences remaining after cessation. Currently, I’m studying the neurobehavioral effects of acute methamphetamine in combination with stress on allocentric/spatial learning and memory.
My dissertation revolves around elucidating the mechanism and phenotype of a transgenic knockout mouse phosphodiesterase-1b that confers resistance to the induction of depression-like behaviors. I also work on a transgenic rat model of a latrophilins-3 that shows an attention deficit-hyperactivity and learning impairment phenotype. We are creating a conditional model with LoxP sites surrounding Exon 3 to further investigate the role of this gene in relation to ADHD.
The primary focus of my work is understanding the mechanisms of third trimester-equivalent methamphetamine exposure in developing rats. Markers of reactive oxygen species (ROS) are being measured during and shortly after completion of drug exposure and pretreatment with an ROS scavenging drug is being tested as protection against methamphetamine-induced neurological and cognitive deficits.
My research is on how early developmental exposure to environmental toxicants (such as manganese) and drugs (such as antidepressants) elicit altered neurobehavioral outcomes, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD)-like behaviors, emotion-related behaviors, and learning and memory deficits. I am also interested in how such exposure influence protein and neurotransmitter expression/activity in specific brain regions that modulate behavioral changes, including how epigenetic changes affect later generations.
The lab’s research focuses on the prenatal effects of drug and environmental chemicals on offspring’s neurodevelopment and behavior and on genes critical during brain development that lead to neurological and neurocognitive disorders such as ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and depression.
My research interest is in the area of developmental impacts, including genetic, environmental, and stress-related factors, on cognitive ability and behavioral sequelae throughout the lifetime. Particular interests are in manganese and its impact on Parkinson’s disease, drugs of abuse throughout the lifetime, and genetic factors that produce cognitive deficits
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