Slices of fixed brain tissue being prepared for immunofluorescence

The increased use and misuse of powerful prescription pain killers, such as Oxycontin®, has resulted in an opioid epidemic impacting men and women of all ages. While the risk of overdose death and addiction-related disease are of primary concern, the long-term impact of increased opioid exposure across such a broad population remains unknown. Increased use in adolescent populations and in pregnant women may be a particular concern.

Our lab uses preclinical modeling of neurological disorders to identify epigenetic modifications impacting both symptom severity and long-term outcomes. We are particularly interested in effects that are age- and/or sex-specific as well as effects that can be passed on to future generations (i.e. transgenerational epigenetic effects). Much of our work focuses on substance use disorders with a primary focus on opioids.

Brain slice with RNAscope gene expression of GAD67 and cFos with DAPI
Sperm cells in a vaginal lavage sample taken from a rat within a prenatal study
Neurons grown in culture and stained for Map2 and synaptophysin with DAPI