Date of Submission

Spring 2020

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Arseny Khakhalin

Abstract/Artist's Statement

This project was written under a global pandemic that has caused humans to completely change the way they live. Now is the time to re-learn different tools in order to adjust to the new normal. Everyone is now unlearning the previous way of life and re-learning new ways to adapt to our current situation. My Senior Project questions if change also exists on a neuro-behavioral level. I explored how behavior could be changed by inducing neuroplasticity in the brain. One of the ways plasticity can occur is by using HDI, these are chemical compounds that change the structure of genes. VPA is classified as histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDI) which affects the regulation of gene expression. VPA which is used in frontline medications for mental illnesses like seizures and bipolar disorder.

The process of being exposed to VPA may give rise to neuronal plasticity in Xenopus tadpoles through the perturbation of gene structure. Tadpoles exposed to VPA may change the way they avoid collision to an on-coming object. Further research into this subject could potentially lead us to reshape learning and unlearning for animals and humans alike.

Open Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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