Functional Recovery after Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury

Supervising Faculty: Anthony E. Kline, PhD

Contact: Anthony E. Kline, klineae@upmc.edu

Area of Research: Recovery of function after experimental brain injury in rodents

Description of Research: The lab focuses on recovery of motor and cognitive function after experimental brain injury in rats of both sex. Briefly, rats are fully anesthetized and then subjected to a brain injury using a well-established model of traumatic brain injury. The students do not perform surgeries. The rats are then tested for recovery of motor and cognitive function usually after some therapy has been provided, such a pharmacotherapies or environmental enrichment, a preclinical model of neurorehabilitation. The rats are then sacrificed and histology is performed to determine mechanisms.

Duties of Students: Students mainly do behavioral assessments. But if they have additional time and are interested, they can sacrifice rats for histology and help write up the results for a poster presentation.

Requirements:

  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • 12 credits of Psychology (including current term)
  • STAT 0200/1000/1100 Statistics
  • PSY 0036 Research Methods Lecture
  • PSY 0036 Research Methods Lab
  • Must be dependable and excited about the research

Recruitment Process: I have had students from all walks of life and race and gender and etc. The standard interview with prospective students consists of asking what year they are in currently as I rarely take seniors as it takes too much time to train them to become independent. By the time they are ready for independence they are graduating and have not contributed much to the lab. Once that is settled, they get a summary of the work we do, what it entails (behavioral assessments and opportunities for other facets). The students are always asked if they understand. Then they are asked to show their class schedules because again the mostly likely student to join the lab is the one that has sufficient time during the day to perform the assessments - they cannot be helpful if no time to do work (they need at least 3 hr on the work day). They are also informed that the lab is at Children’s Hospital and they will need to take a shuttle from Oakland and account for that time in their work schedule (so 2-3 hr lab plus travel).

Terms offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Number of Students: 2