Undergraduate Student Research, PTSD – Texas A&M University-Commerce

In our lab we are looking at the
mechanisms behind PTSD development. It might be a little weird to think that a
little bitty one inch aquarium fish would be the best model for PTSD. But
because they are extremely social, they have a good molecular background, and the same type of basic structure like DNA you find in all organisms so that’s
why we can apply something like an aquarium fish or a zebrafish to human research. One of the biggest problem in studying PTSD is that we don’t have good models. And we cannot induce PTSD in people to study PTSD. So we need a model system that mimic as close as human beings. Everybody likes to think of the lab mouse but actually want to show that zebrafish are better because
they’re so social. When you do any kind of PTSD induction you have an immediate
reaction they become antisocial which is extremely odd with their behavior. And on
the molecular side if we look at how the zebrafish genomes are sequence they have a lot of genes and proteins that are similar in humans. So if we see,
kind of, molecular changes in zebrafish then we can look at how it would affect
humans. It’s so important because we have a lot
of stories nowadays especially with the military and overseas where soldiers
come back and they suffer from PTSD and they’re unable to cope with the normal
life that we have. So what we want to look at is ways to, kind of, prevent that
treatment from progressing because that kind of behavior can cause
neurodegeneration, certain types of cancers, accelerated aging; and so it, kind
of, leads into a bunch of other issues. We’re also looking at any kind of
treatment solutions that can prevent that.

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