McKenzie Prillaman, B.A.
“Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor density in the rat brain changes in response to nicotine dose and exposure age”
After chronically exposing adolescent and adult rats to 3 different doses of nicotine, McKenzie measured nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) density throughout the brain to quantify physiological changes resulting from the nicotine regiment. McKenzie found that nicotine dose effects are widespread throughout the brain, adolescent-exposed rats have greater nAChR density than adult-exposed rats in some thalamic and striatal subregions, and there is a dose x exposure age interact ion in the thalamus.
Post Bac Info: McKenzie attended the University of Virginia where she received a BA in Neuroscience with a minor in Bioethics. There, she studied the taste pathway in the tree shrew as well as anesthesia’s effect on developing rat brains. Currently, she works in the Stein lab, where she is studying nicotine exposure in adolescent versus adult rats. To do this, she uses techniques such as autoradiography, CPP/CPA, electric Von Frey, cryostat slicing, intravenous catheter surgery, and immunoprecipitation.