Who I Am
I am a graduate student in Neuroscience at the University of Illinois, working in Dr. Alison Bell’s Animal Biology lab. Prior to grad school, I worked as a technician/lab manager for 6 years in Dr. Phil Newmark’s molecular and cellular biology lab. My undergrad major was Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. If you want to know more, you can check out my CV.
I have worked with:
|Threespine stickleback fish||Planarians||Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster)|
There is a lot of variation in the ability of animals to make new brain cells, called neurogenesis, as adults. Some animals, like planarians, can make a whole new brain from scratch. Others, like humans, have very limited ability to make new brain cells that is restricted to specific regions of the brain. Sticklebacks a capable of make more brain cells than humans.
Many situations can change the rate that new brain cells are made. Things like stress and social isolation reduce the rate while things like exercise and enriched environments can enhance the rate. I am interested in how an event like successfully defending a territory can influence the rate of neurogenesis.
Protocol Paper (Evolutionary Ecology Research 2016)
In situ hybridization is a technique that allow you to visualize where a gene is being expressed. The location can be determined at the level of the cell. We use this technique to link behavioral variation (such as aggression levels) with changes in where genes are being expressed. Ideally this allows us to identify regions of the brain that participate in the behavioral response.
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