The McCullagh lab just received a National Institutes of Health R15 award from the The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
The grant is to study issues in sound localization pathways in the brain of a genetic form of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) using mouse models. Specifically, they propose that myelin, the fatty coating enabling fast conduction of neural signals, is disrupted in the brainstem - where sound localization occurs - causing changes to auditory processing. They will use anatomy, physiology, and behavior specific to the sound location circuit to measure speed (a proxy for myelin) of brain processing in mice with Fragile X Syndrome, the most common genetic form of ASD. This award will also enable funding for 2 undergraduates to be paid to work in the lab during the semester and summer over the three years of the grant, providing opportunities for hands-on laboratory experiences for students.