Atreyi Saha

October 17, 2014

Transient Prenatal Insults Disrupt the Structure and Function of the Adult Neocortex

Intrauterine insults, whether transient or sustained, contribute to abnormal brain development  and multi-domain cognitive impairments. Such pathological insults can influence the architecture of the neocortex, a region of the brain that is associated with many higher cognitive abilities like language and reasoning. Using a mouse model of transient intrauterine ischemia (TII), I explored how the architecture of the adult neocortex is altered due to pathological insults like TII. In order to understand how the well-defined transcriptional profiles of the adult neocortex changes due to TII, I used immunohistochemistry to identify neuronal and glial markers. Then, I used Western Blotting and Quantitative Real Time PCR to identify differences in protein and RNA expression of the selected neuronal and glial markers. I found that TII did alter RNA and protein expression of neuronal markers like CUGBP1 and glial markers like APC by mechanisms that promoted abnormal brain development and increased the risk of multi-domain cognitive impairments. I conducted my research at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School on an undergraduate research fellowship from the NIH. Prior to this summer experience, I was primarily interested in medicine. However, now I wish to pursue a career that integrates both medicine and research.