Current Research Projects

Some of the current research projects we are working on in the Huffman Lab:

Transgenerational Effects of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

Investigating the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on neuroanatomy, gene expression, intraneocortical connections, and behavior across three generations. Mice aged postnatal day (P)0 and P20 will be examined for brain differences then these phenotypes will be correlated to behavior at P20. The first generation (F1) is the only one to have direct exposure to alcohol, while subsequent generations will be bred through the male germline.

Lactational Ethanol Exposure

Using a novel mouse model to investigate the effects of drinking alcohol while breastfeeding on offspring brain and behavioral development. Various molecular and behavioral techniques will be used to examine offspring neurodevelopment and behavior.

Embryonic FASD

Investigating the effects of prenatal ethanol exposure on embryonic development at various time points during gestation (Embryonic day (E) 12.5, E14.5, E16.5, E18.5). Using our established mouse model of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), we are examining gross anatomy, neuroanatomy, gene expression, and intraneocortical connections at earlier stages in development.

Prairie Vole Parenting

(In collaboration with Leah A. Krubitzer Ph.D. at UC Davis)

Analyzing the impact on neocortical development due to variation in natural, early life sensory experiences. Using a prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) model, which shows a natural variation in parental care, we are examining neocortical anatomy, connectivity, and gene expression in offspring of high contact or low contact parent pairs. Future studies will examine this system in later age offspring, as well as the effects of cross-breeding between high contact and low contact parents.

See Bottom et al., 2020, Journal of Comp. Neurology


Monodelphis Domestica

(In collaboration with Leah A. Krubitzer Ph.D. at UC Davis)

Examining a combination of early vision loss with early pervasive tactile enhancement in Monodelphis domestica. Our focus is understanding the impact of age of blindness onset and the type and amount of sensory input from spared sensory systems on cortical and thalamic connections, functional organization of re-organized and neural response properties of re-organized V1, and sensory mediated behavior.

Consumption Safety During Pregnancy: A Native American Perspective

(In collaboration with Michael A. Erickson, Ph.D. at Hawaii Pacific University)

A survey study investigating the perceptions of consumption safety (food, cannabis, alcohol, prescription drugs etc.) during pregnancy in a Native American population.

If you are a Native American, Alaskan Native, or Pacific Islander and would like to participate in this survey visit our recruitment page!