Event Title

Effects of Autism-Associated Environmental Factors on Locomotive Behavior of Zebrafish Larvae

Presenter Information

Nell Klimpert, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Start Date

10-27-2017 6:40 PM

End Date

10-27-2017 7:20 PM

Poster Number

22

Abstract

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) involve changes in motor development, and those with ASD often experience behavioral differences such as repetitive motion (e.g. arm flapping, rocking) or difficulties initiating movement. Recent epidemiological research indicates that exposure of pregnant mothers to certain environmental compounds has been linked to an increased risk of developing ASD in their children. How these chemicals affect development of motor pathways to result in behavioral changes is unknown. The purpose of this research is to assess motor behavior of zebrafish larvae following exposure to chemicals implicated in ASD risk. Embryos are exposed on the day of fertilization to concentrations of chemicals that have been found to affect the morphology and gene regulation of zebrafish larvae. At 5 days post fertilization (dpf), these exposed larvae are transferred into 96-well-plates in a controlled environment and their swimming behavior is digitally recorded. The swimming behavior is analyzed through open-source MATLAB software to identify changes in swimming velocity and total distance moved. Changes in swimming behavior following exposure to chemicals may result from changes to neural development and spinal morphology. Results gained from this experiment will provide further information on the developmental effects of prenatal chemical exposure relevant to understanding ASD mechanisms.

Major

Neuroscience

Project Mentor(s)

Brad Carter, Neuroscience

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Oct 27th, 6:40 PM Oct 27th, 7:20 PM

Effects of Autism-Associated Environmental Factors on Locomotive Behavior of Zebrafish Larvae

Science Center, Bent Corridor

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) involve changes in motor development, and those with ASD often experience behavioral differences such as repetitive motion (e.g. arm flapping, rocking) or difficulties initiating movement. Recent epidemiological research indicates that exposure of pregnant mothers to certain environmental compounds has been linked to an increased risk of developing ASD in their children. How these chemicals affect development of motor pathways to result in behavioral changes is unknown. The purpose of this research is to assess motor behavior of zebrafish larvae following exposure to chemicals implicated in ASD risk. Embryos are exposed on the day of fertilization to concentrations of chemicals that have been found to affect the morphology and gene regulation of zebrafish larvae. At 5 days post fertilization (dpf), these exposed larvae are transferred into 96-well-plates in a controlled environment and their swimming behavior is digitally recorded. The swimming behavior is analyzed through open-source MATLAB software to identify changes in swimming velocity and total distance moved. Changes in swimming behavior following exposure to chemicals may result from changes to neural development and spinal morphology. Results gained from this experiment will provide further information on the developmental effects of prenatal chemical exposure relevant to understanding ASD mechanisms.