The Bhatnagar lab studies the physiological and behavioral effects of chronic stress exposure in adulthood in animal models. We examine the neural circuits on which stress exposure acts to produce these physiological and behavioral effects. We use a combination of behavioral tests for anxiety and depression and traditional neuroscience techniques, such as tract tracing, immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridization, to study the neural circuitry. We are also interested in how early life events can modify how adults respond to chronic stress. Such events include prenatal stress exposure or maternal separation in the early neonatal period. Our long term goal is to understand how early life events, either in utero or the early neonatal period, can make individuals vulnerable or resilient to the potentially adverse effects of chronic stress in adulthood that are associated with illness in some individuals.
Neuroscience Graduate Group; Psychology Graduate Group