Courtney Schnell

Courtney Schnell

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


I am currently a Junior (Biological Sciences major with a Psychology minor). I have been working in the Klintsova lab since spring of 2006. This past summer I received a Science and Engineering scholarship and began working on my own project. I hope to complete my Senior Thesis and graduate with an Honors Degree with Distinction in May 09. I plan on attending medical school and am considering an M.D./Ph.D. program in Neuroscience.

Effects of One-Day Binge-Like Alcohol Exposure on the Hippocampus

My project focuses on the understanding of the damage to the brain (hippocampus) in the rat animal model of Fetal Alcohol Exposure (FAE) through one-day binge-like exposure during the third trimester equivalent. The project looks at the neural damage (permanent reduction of neuron number) due to the ethanol exposure in the hippocampus, specifically the CA1 subfield. Previous studies have shown that the CA1 subfield is the most vulnerable to ethanol damage during neonatal alcohol exposure in rats. Currently, most studies use a paradigm which exposes the animals to multiple doses of ethanol over a course of several days during the rat brain growth spurt (PD 4-9). Conversely, my study examines the effects of one-day ethanol exposure on PD 4. My results demonstrate that one-day binge-like ethanol exposure is sufficient to produce significant decrease in neuronal cell counts. Ethanol-exposed animals have significantly lower CA1 cell counts than sham-intubated and suckle-control animals.

In addition to counting the CA1 hippocampal subfield, I will also count the CA2 and CA3 subregions of the hippocampus to determine the full effects of one-day ethanol exposure. More animals will also be added to the study in order to increase the validity of the study. Once this has been achieved, I plan on writing a paper and submitting it for publication.