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Molecular, Structural, and Functional Correlates of Altered Behaviors Associated with Obesity, Diabetes and Prenatal Drug Exposure

Calum Avison
Departments of Radiology & Radiological Sciences, Pharmacology
Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science
AAA-3101 MCN
615-343-0522 (office)

We use molecular, structural and functional brain imaging methods in humans and animals to better understand:

1)  how variations in the efficiency of signaling pathways (particularly insulin and dopamine) influence the performance of brain circuits, involved in reward, planning and self-control, and the effect of these variations on behavior.  We currently focus on how these systems influence feeding behavior, and to what extent  disrupted regulation of these circuits may predispose to and/or be influenced by obesity.

2) the impact of prenatal drug and/or alcohol exposure on structural and functional brain development.