We focus broadly on the role of brain mitochondrial function in social behavior. As social dysfunction is a key component of several different disorders, we ask questions about a wide variety of diseases, including depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, and Gulf War Illness.

Currently funded projects:

Targeting Drp1-Fis1 interactions to mediate glucocorticoid-induced pathologies

We examine the effects of chronic unpredictable stress on Drp1-Fis1 interactions using both in vivo and in vitro models. This work is funded by the NIGMS as part of the COBRE center for targeted therapeutics.

Role of amygdala in social and emotional behaviors in Fragile X Syndrome

In collaboration with the Mott, Welshhans, and Klusek labs, we combine electrophysiology with behavior to investigate the role of the Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein (FMRP) in the amygdala to FXS-related behaviors. This work was funded by a CAN pilot grant through the CAN network and a UofSC ASPIRE II award.

Role of mitochondrial function in Gulf War Illness

We collaborate with the Reagan lab to examine how stress and pyridostigmine bromide exposure affects mitochondrial function in the brain and periphery and relate to anxiety-like and social behaviors. This work is funded by a VISN7 research development award from the VA.

Mitochondrial mechanisms and nutritional interventions for brain aging and memory

We collaborate with the McQuail lab to examine how aging and diet affects mitochondrial function in the brain and periphery and relate to cognitive function. This work was funded by a P20 targeted faculty pilot grant and supplement from the NIGMS.

Other projects:

The postpartum mitochondrion

We investigate how parity influences mitochondrial function in discrete brain regions. This work was previously supported by a UofSC ASPIRE award and we are currently seeking funding.

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