Research Interests

My major research interest is the evaluation of plasticity of the normal/healthy vs. damaged nervous system on behavioral and system/cellular levels. I am currently using a rat animal model of alcohol abuse during pregnancy, to study the damaging effects of alcohol on the developing brain and on the altered behavior. The major questions that I address in my current research are the extent of the alcohol-related damage and whether behavioral intervention can ameliorate that damage on both behavioral and structural levels. In attempt to improve behavioral (motor) performance and increase brain plasticity in alcohol-exposed animals I am using different conditions (motor task learning, physical exercise) that are known to facilitate brain synaptogenesis. The evaluation of plasticity is done on the behavioral (testing the motor abilities and memory), cellular (light microscopy, immunohistochemistry, optical densitometry, neuronal tract-tracing) and sub-cellular (electron microscopy) levels. For more information, see this recent article, courtesy of the University of Illinois.

The major questions that I am planning to answer are: