Title: Beyond the AhR and environmental toxicology: Exploring adult neurogenesis and cognition
Abstract: The research history of adult mammalian neurogenesis is a controversial one. Once largely ignored by the scientific community, current thinking accepts that new neurons are produced in restricted regions of the adult brain, including the hippocampus. Using mouse and cell culture models, my research addresses the application of adult hippocampal neurogenesis and how dysregulation of this dynamic process may contribute to or exacerbate neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by abnormal neurogenesis. In this presentation, I will discuss the role of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in adult neurogenesis and how its endogenous functions related to neurogenesis are disrupted following exposure to environmental chemicals. I will also propose future directions to address the underlying mechanisms in which environmental chemicals induce neurotoxicity via the AhR and discuss strategies that may protect the adult hippocampus from adverse environmental exposures. These research objectives will contribute to our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of adult learning, memory, and behavior and the manner in which these mechanisms may be perturbed by environmental chemicals.