Personal History:I did my undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. I did a post-doc at the University of Iowa, then worked at Upstate Medical University prior to coming to University of Maryland.
Research Interests:There are two main projects in my lab:
1. We study the effects of chronic prenatal exposure to ethanol on brain development, largely focused on the somatosensory system. We have found that cortex and thalamus show different responses to ethanol. Current work is looking at mechanisms that underlie the effects of ethanol, focused on growth factor expression and cell death/survival.
2. Animals that have an acute exposure to a teratogen (ethanol or valproic acid) during gestation have abnormal social behavior. Abnormal social behaviors are also seen in humans with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and autistic spectrum disorder. We have shown that teratogens alter behavior and that the timing of the insult is important. We are examining two systems that are important for normal social behavior; the limbic and somatosensory systems.
Lab Techniques and Equipment:* Stereology
* Western blot
* Rodent behavior
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