Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Emilie Tu L&S Sciences

The Impact of Enriched Environment Rearing in Cntnap2 Knockout Mice

Contactin-associated protein-like 2 (CNTNAP2) mutations are strongly associated with autism spectrum disorder, which presents with repetitive behaviors. Research has shown that mice lacking CNTNAP2 exhibit decreased numbers of GABAergic interneurons throughout the brain, and that the number and function of these interneurons in the striatum are associated with the presentation of repetitive behaviors. Recent work has shown that enriched environment rearing restores GABAergic interneuron numbers in the striatum and rescues behavioral deficits in rodent models of neuropsychiatric disorders. I will be looking at how different rearing conditions affect striatal gene expression and behaviors in CNTNAP2 knockout mice. My project will explore the interactions between genes and the environment, particularly the potential for environmental aspects to alter striatal interneuron cell types and the presence of repetitive behaviors. The goal of my project is to help provide insight into how environmental factors may influence neurodevelopmental disorders.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity. Without your support, I wouldn't have the chance to run my own independent project and gain such valuable research experience. I'm excited to continue to learn and grow as a budding neuroscientist!
Profile image of Emilie Tu
Major: Psychology - Neuroscience emphasized
Mentor: Helen Bateup
Sponsor: CACSSF
Back to Listings
Back to Donor Reports