The NDOPL is currently working on many interesting research projects that span a wide range of neurodevelopmental concepts. Despite the variety of research projects, all experimental paradigms focus on susceptibility and treatment of experiences that alter neurodevelopmental plasticity.
Concussion Susceptibility – Although 1/5 children will experience a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or concussion, most recover without incident. However, a significant proportion of this group will go on to suffer from lingering and persistent symptomology that has the potential to disrupt family dynamics, school performance, and socioemotional wellbeing. We are interested in understanding what factors contribute to the differences in neurological health, predisposing some children to recover quickly and others to endure lasting consequences and require significant intervention. To date we have been examining how preconception and prenatal factors such as diet, drug exposure, and parental age alter offspring susceptibility and recovery from childhood concussions.
Concussion Treatment – Building on knowledge we have gained by examining factors that predispose individuals to poor outcomes following concussion, we have begun to examine pharmacological agents and lifestyle manipulations that could improve recovery from concussion, or prevent the injury from occurring at all. Using reliable and validated animal models, we are able to test a variety of preventative and treatment strategies that can be rapidly transferred to clinical settings.
Neurodevelopmental Disorders – The NDOPL is also interested in understanding how early programming influences the onset and trajectory of neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD and ASD. As these complex developmental conditions arise from interactions between genes and the environment, experiences prior to conception, prenatally, and early in the postnatal period, may play a substantial role in their manifestation. We have developed early programming-induced models of ADHD and ASD that are utilized to examine the etiology, prognosis, pathology, and treatment of these pervasive developmental disorders.