Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

For ten weeks in Shreveport, La., Jaime Abbazia ’05 (Dix Hills, N.Y.) conducted intensive neuroscience research with Lisa Schrott ’87, assistant pharmacology professor at Louisiana State University’s Health Science Center, through the Lafayette Alumni Research Network.

Schrott’s major research interests include behavioral, endocrine, and immune consequences of prenatal drug exposure, the role of neurotrophic factors (proteins responsible for the growth and survival of neurons) and cytokines (small, secreted proteins that mediate and regulate immunity and inflammation) in brain development and behavior, and immune system influences on behavior.

Abbazia helped to design and pilot test a procedure known as “conditioned place aversion,” in which a new environment is paired with the experience of undergoing withdrawal from opiates such as heroine or morphine.

“We determined how aversive the experience was for the rat by examining how much time it subsequently spent in that environment in the future,” Schrott says. “The advantage of this over similar tests is that we found we could measure the effects for at least two weeks after they underwent opiate withdrawal — long after the physical signs of withdrawal had ended.”

Such information is important for understanding why craving for a drug and relapse can occur long after a person has stopped using the drug.

“Jaime has taken advantage of coursework opportunities at Lafayette as well as opportunities to get hands-on experience in the laboratory,” Schrott says. “Not only did Jaime spend the summer working in my laboratory, she also spent the second semester of her junior year working in the psychiatry department at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. This speaks volumes about her initiative to seek out new challenges.”

Categorized in: Academic News