Scott E. Parnell, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor at the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, recently received a K99/R00 award from NIAAA titled “Neuroanatomical/Functional Correlates in an FASD Model”. The funding, which began in February 2010, will last for five years and focuses on the effects of alcohol exposure during early gestation.

The proposed work, using a mouse model of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), is designed to further our understanding of the long-term effects of early gestational alcohol exposure on the structure and function of the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and a battery of cognitive, sensory, motor and other behavioral tests will be utilized in neonatal, adolescent and adult mice in order to examine alcohol’s teratogenicity and how these effects may change over time. These experiments will add to our knowledge regarding the full range of alcohol-induced abnormalities and of expected structural/functional correlates. This work will inform clinical research and aid in the difficult task of identifying and diagnosing children with prenatal alcohol exposure.