Effects of nicotine on Drosophila development: genes, neurotransmitters and toxicology

What are the effects of developmental nicotine exposure?

Project Abstract

Nicotine is the chemical in tobacco associated to addiction, yet little is known about the changes nicotine causes that produce addiction. My lab uses Drosophila, the common fruit fly, to discover the mechanisms for nicotine’s effects. Students working in this project will expose flies to nicotine, dissect brains, stain them, and use fluorescence and confocal microscopy to characterize nicotine’s effects on neurotransmitters and on proteins associated to nicotine metabolism. Students will also use molecular biology to identify genes involved in nicotine’s effects. Most recently, we have started characterizing effects of nicotine on the embryogenesis and identifying specific mutations that make flies either resistant of sensitive to nicotine's effects.

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