The laboratory works under the joint direction of Charles Vorhees, PhD and Michael Williams, PhD. The lab’s primary focus is on understanding how drugs, genes, and/or environmental agents adversely affect the developing brain and cause neurological and cognitive impairments. Members of the lab work on projects ranging from effects of chronic stress to amphetamines, from genes involved in depression and ADHD, to how early manganese exposure affects brain development and methods for assessing memory in animals that parallel human forms of memory. The lab also runs the Animal Behavior Core.
The research focuses on how early insults from drugs, environmental agent, or genetic mutation trigger changes in brain development that have lasting consequences. We investigate brain structure, neurochemistry, and function with a particular interest in adverse effects on different types of learning and memory in animal model systems. Our ultimate goal is to develop treatments for developmental brain disorders that improve long-term outcomes for children.