Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2009
Mentor: Uma Rao, M.D.
Room number: HP5.520 W
Mail Code: 9101
Phone number: 214-648-5288
Project title: Neuronal Risk Markers for Nicotine Dependence in Youth
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): 032004-052 (8/14/04)
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): NA
Project Type (patient-based research, animal-based research, or basic research; this characterization is only to permit a general classification for grouping similar types of projects) patient-based research
Brief Description of Project:
This project seeks to identify characteristics of brain structural volumes that predict the risk for development of nicotine dependence (ND) in adolescents. It employs a prospective design and utilizes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify possible structural abnormalities in specific brain regions to cognitive challenges in youth at high- and low-risk for ND. We hypothesize that altered structural brain regions will be related to the development of ND in a longitudinal study and that the observed brain changes are more prominent in the high-risk group. The adolescents also will participate in follow-up studies of MRI assays (after the onset of ND in those who develop it) to determine if, and to what extent, changes in brain structural volumes occur as a consequence of ND by comparing the baseline and follow-up measurements. The longitudinal design will distinguish pre-existing vulnerability markers for smoking and ND from changes in brain structural volumes due to chronic smoking.
Previous Research Activities or Publications with Medical Students:
Bidesi AS, Mehta SQ, Ernst M, Tamminga C, Rao U: Neuronal circuits involved in motivational processes: alterations in adolescent depression. Presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Toronto, ON, Canada, October 18-23, 2005.
Huang D, Bidesi A, Zheng S, Rao U: Hippocampal changes associated with adolescent depression. Presented at the 93rd Annual Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons, New Orleans, LA, October 7-11, 2007.
Rao U, Huang D, Zheng S, Bidesi A: Effect of early adversity on hippocampal volume in depressed adolescents. Presented at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Boca Raton, FL, December 9-13, 2007.
Huang D, Zheng S, Bidesi A, Rao U: Hippocampal changes associated with adolescent
depression. Presented at the The 46th Annual Medical Student Research Forum,
UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, January 22, 2008.