Graduate student Brittany Osborne has been selected to receive a 2018 American Psychological Association Dissertation Research Grant Award. This award is given annually by the American Psychological Association Directorate to promising graduate students to assist with the costs of their dissertation research.
Brittany Osborne is studying how dysregulation of the immune system during childhood leads to an increased risk for mental health disorders such as autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, and depression. She is specifically interested in elucidating the role that microglia, the immune cells of the brain, have in forming neural circuits and how this process becomes perturbed when immune activation occurs during brain development. Her research focuses on how immune activation alters communication between microglia and neurons which may change the structure and function of neural networks that support the emergence and long-term maintenance of cognitive function. By understanding how brain development is changed by immune activation early in life, researchers can begin to understand how these changes increase risk for mental health disorders. Her long term goal is to use this research to develop novel opportunities for therapeutic and preventative treatments.