Heidi Meyer Predoctoral Research Award

Heidi Meyer recently received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award.  This award is part of a family of grants provided by the United States National Institutes of Health for training researchers in the behavioral sciences and health sciences. They are a highly selective and very prestigious source of funding for doctoral and postdoctoral trainees. This award will allow Heidi to pursue research related to the mechanisms underlying the development of inhibitory behavior in rats. In particular, the experiments to be carried out under this award will incorporate viral mediated gene delivery systems (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs; DREADDs) as a mechanism for temporary modulation of targeted brain regions relevant to proactive inhibition. Additional experiments will also elucidate the behavioral factors that contribute to the delayed ability to withhold behavior observed during adolescence. Investigating the link between neurobiological and behavioral development may inform the identification and development of new treatments for addiction and neurodevelopmental disorders.  For example, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and schizophrenia as well as the drug abuse which often develops during adolescence are characterized by deficits in inhibitory behavior. Heidi is currently a fourth-year graduate student in Professor David Bucci’s laboratory.