Lab Happenings 2024

May 2024

Bridgette Weiss officially joined the lab as graduate student. She is a graduate student in the MSU Neuroscience Program and rotated in the lab in the spring semester. During her rotation, she accepted the challenge to work with a relatively unknown laboratory rodent species, namely the Nile Grass Rat, Arvicanthis Niloticus.

The Nile Grass Rat is a diurnal rodent who lives in the wild in small family structures with offspring reared by both parents. However, surprisingly little is known about their social behaviors. Bridgette started to characterize their social behaviors by first examining social preferences in adult males. She will continue this characterization and determine the roles of oxytocin and vasopressin in the regulation of social behaviors across age and in both sexes.

April 2024

Samantha Bowden organized the Science booth “Discover the Limitless Potential of Your Brain!” at the MSU Science Festival, and with the help of Kira Becker, Latrell Massey, Bella Orsucci, Cole Parker, Ellen Walker, and Evan Wilson, kids and their parents could dive into the intricate world of the organ that makes you unique: the brain! The booth offered a hands-on experience to examine brain slices and practice mounting rat brain sections onto slides. They could explore their handiwork under the microscope to discover the brain’s structure and how distinct brain regions contribute to regulating various behaviors. It was a great success!

January 2024

Latrell Massey, Cole Parker, and Evan Wilson joined the lab as undergraduate research assistants.

Ellen Walker joined the lab as postdoctoral researcher. She had great expertise in neuroanatomy and she will use state-of-the-art neurotracing techniques to identify and interrogate the neural circuitry underlying social play behaviors in juvenile rats focusing on hypothalamic connectivity with reward-related brain structures.