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Our research is anchored within the fields of immunology, microbiology, and developmental and behavioral neuroscience. Using translational animal models, we investigate the inflammatory pathways underlying perturbations in offspring neurodevelopment, glial cell function, and behavior elicited during maternal gestational insults. We utilize live pathogen infection during pregnancy to better understand the etiologies of neurodevelopmental disorders, which are linked to gestational exposure to maternal immune activation.

Using animal models of maternal immune activation, our work strives to answer the following overarching research questions:

  1. How and which inflammatory signals originate within maternal tissues and how are these signals propagated across the maternal-fetal interface?
  2. How are microglia regulating the early stages of neural network formation and the manifestation of aberrant behaviors?
  3. How might endogenous maternal microbes be communicating, directly or indirectly, with the fetal compartment?
  4. What common endocrine, immune, and neural correlates exist between models of pathogen infection and models of prenatal stress

Our principal investigator is Dr. Adrienne Antonson.

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