Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory


Kathryn Chadman, PhD, Head

[email protected]

The Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory uses behavioral tests to evaluate mouse models of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is diagnosed on the basis of behavioral criteria in humans, namely, impairments in social communication and repetitive behaviors and/or restricted interests. Mice are phenotyped by using behaviors with face validity for the human symptoms of ASD. This allows us to conduct research on aspects of ASD including potential causes, such as environmental stressors, as well as potential therapeutic agents.  

Current projects include examining the effects of environmental stressors during gestation. Maternal stressors, such as restraint stress or high-fat diet, are being tested in two inbred strains of mice, C57BL/6J and BTBR. Another project is examining the effects of voluntary exercise during gestation in a mouse model of ASD.  The offspring are tested by using a battery of behavioral tests to examine social behavior, anxiety-like behavior, learning and memory, obsessive-compulsive-like behavior and general motor ability. 

The laboratory also collaborates with other labs at IBR, including the Structural Neurobiology Laboratory, Cellular Immunology Laboratory, Morphometry Laboratory, and Genetics of Developmental Abnormalities Laboratory. We also maintain collaborations with other institutions to provide mouse behavioral testing for other theories related to autism spectrum disorder, fragile X syndrome and other developmental disabilities.

A complete list of Dr. Chadman's published work may be found at the NCBI Collections website.