FAU Brain Postdoctoral Fellow Receives Pilot Grant to Study Behavioral Changes in Mice Related to Autism and ADHD

Lorena B. Areal, Ph.D.

by Lynda Rysavy | Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020

Lorena B. Areal, Ph.D.,   a FAU Brain postdoctoral fellow, received a pilot grant to evaluate, through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), network-level changes in the brain that might underlie behavioral changes observed in genetically engineered mice expressing the DAT Val559 mutation. 


mice“This mutation in the dopamine transporter gene has been identified in human subjects with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by our lab, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)and Bipolar Disorder (BPD) by others,” said Dr. Areal, member of the Blakely Laboratory. “We have recently discovered that this mutation also impacts the serotonin system and with the experiments proposed in this grant, we will be able further to explore the serotonergic alterations from an additional angle, substantially expanding our previous findings. The broader goal is to establish mechanisms by which DAT dysfunction impacts the serotonin system and thereby confers risk to neuropsychiatric disorders.”


This award was granted by the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory’s (NHMFL) and Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy (AMRIS) Facility at the University of Florida, supported by National Science Foundation Cooperative Agreement No. DMR-1644779, National Institutes of Health (NIH) award S10 OD021726 and the State of Florida.