Cesar Rocha

Cesar Rocha

122 Wolf Hall
Phone: (302)831-2647
Fax: (302)831-3645


Since the spring of 2006, I have worked in Dr. Anna Klintsova's lab helping the graduate students with their own projects. Currently, I'm working on a Senior Thesis involving the effects of stress and environment on the outcome of the exercise effect on adult neurogenesis in the animal model of fetal alcohol syndrome.


Neonatal alcohol exposure during the brain growth spurt (first ten postnatal days in rats, the equivalent of brain development events in the third trimester of pregnancy in humans) results in impaired cognitive and learning abilities in adult rats. This impairment is accompanied by structural changes (loss of neurons and reduced dendrite length) in the hippocampus. The hippocampus (specifically, its dentate gyrus) is one of only two areas of the brain where generation of new neurons (called neurogenesis) continues throughout the life span. Neonatal exposure to alcohol decreases the rate of adult neurogenesis.

Stress, Housing conditions and the Effects of Exercise in an Animal model of FASD

My study examines the effect of early postnatal alcohol binge-like exposure on cytogenesis and neurogenesis in the adult hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) and the effect of exercise. Wheel running (exercise) has been described to increase adult cytogenesis and neurogenesis in the hippocampal DG in rodents. My study will be an extension of the previous studies in the Klintsova Lab which have demonstrated capability of exercise to produce the same effect on cyto- and neurogenesis in the alcohol-exposed animals. Other significant variables, such as housing and stress, have shown to alter cell proliferation. Wheel running while housed in the individual cage condition (isolation) results in decreased cell proliferation, while wheel running in group housing condition increases proliferation. Wheel running has also been shown to result in stress-like physiological changes and removal from the wheel may produce withdrawal symptoms through activation of the HPA axis. The proposed study will specifically look at the effect of these two variables, stress and housing condition, on the outcome of exercise effect on cyto- and neurogenesis in neonatally alcohol-exposed rats. Wish me luckā€¦