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Heather Brenhouse

Heather Brenhouse

Associate Professor

Expertise:

  • Behavioral neuroscience, developmental neuroscience and psychology

About Heather Brenhouse

We study the dynamic interaction between the brain, the body, and the environment throughout early life and adolescent development. Adverse or traumatic experience during early life is a known risk factor for the development of mental illness; however, the manifestation of disease does not typically occur until years after the adverse events occur. Using animal models with genetic, behavioral, and pharmacological manipulation, our laboratory investigates in why this occurs, and how we might prevent it.

Specifically, we research how early life stress alters the development of inhibitory interneurons within the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Since stress plays an important role in the interaction of the brain with our immune system, we measure how early life stress affects inflammatory responses and subsequently leads to PFC interneuron damage and behavioral dysfunction later in life. By manipulating early environment, receptor expression, or inflammatory molecules within the PFC, we can shed light on how (and when) the brain responds to developmental disturbances, and how these responses translate into vulnerability to psychiatric disorders.

Contact

Mailing Address:

125 NI (Nightingale Hall), Boston, MA 02115
Institutes, Labs & Research Centers
Developmental Neuropsychobiology Laboratory
Psychology
Behavioral Neuroscience

Dr. Brenhouse’s lab studies the dynamic interaction between the brain, the body, and the environment throughout early life and adolescent development. Using animal models with genetic, behavioral, and pharmacological manipulation, her laboratory investigates why later manifestation of mental illness occurs, and how we might prevent it.

Publications:

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