Seminars & Events
Friday, October 4, 2013: Dr. Laurie Ryan, SMCM '86 (National Institute on Aging) will speak on "Alzheimer's Disease: Targets and Treatments" at 3:00 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Monday, October 21, 2013: Dr. Greg Elmer (University of Maryland Baltimore) will speak on "Domains and Constructs in Motivation: Where Does the Habenula Fit In?" at 4:45 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Friday, October 25, 2013: Dr. Terry Davidson (American University) will speak on "Why We Overeat and Become Obese? It Could be What We Think!" at 3:00 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Dr. Gwen Calhoon '06 recently received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Maryland Baltimore, and was inducted into Nu Rho Psi.
Placek, Katerina (2012). Prenatal fluoxetine exposure : mitigation of affective behavioral deficits through neonatal tactile stimulation. (Mentor: A. Bailey)
Fluoxetine (Prozac) is the most frequently prescribed drug for the treatment of depression in pregnant women, but its long-term neurodevelopmental effects on offspring have not yet been established. In rats, prenatal fluoxetine exposure is linked with emotional-behavioral deficits in adulthood and lasting neuroanatomical changes, presumably resulting from the unnatural saturation of the developing brain and nervous system with serotonin. A form of environmental enrichment, tactile stimulation may improve neurodevelopmental outcome in neonatal populations following early-life cortical assault. The present study investigated the novel usage of neonatal tactile stimulation as an intervention in rats prenatally exposed to fluoxetine, examining potential effects of the intervention on behavioral measures of rodent emotionality (open field test, elevated plus maze, forced swim test) and on Golgi-Cox-identified dendritic spine density and length. While Golgi-Cox analysis of histological data is not yet complete, behavioral results denote novel evidence for a) the therapeutic potential of tactile enrichment on anxiety-like behaviors, and b) the differential effects of drug exposure and/or environmental enrichment on behavioral outcome based on sex. Future work on this project will focus on utilizing neurobiological Golgi-Cox data to find a correlation with or causal inference to behavioral data, in the hopes of elucidating the mechanisms by which tactile stimulation confers beneficial outcomes for the comprised neurodevelopment of offspring.