Zahra Dhanerawala

Program: Neurosciences

Current advisor: Edward B. Han, PhD

Undergraduate university: Simmons College

Research summary
This past summer I worked in the lab of Dr. Adam Kepecs, investigating the role of the peripheral inflammation in depression-like behaviors in tumor-bearing mice. The aim of this project was to understand deficits in motivational behavior and the influence of blood brain barrier permeability on dopamine release in tumor-bearing mice.

To test the hypothesis that tumor-bearing mice display deficits in effort and motivation behaviors, we used a progressive ratio task to quantify the motivational response of healthy and tumor-bearing mice throughout the disease course. Additionally, we assessed the degree of blood brain barrier permeability in healthy and tumor-bearing mice using a small molecule blood brain barrier tracer (cadaverine), and performed whole-brain histology to determine if there is increased blood brain barrier permeability around dopaminergic regions (nucleus accumbens, ventral tegmental area, etc.) that could be contributing to deficits in dopamine release in tumor-bearing mice.

Graduate publications


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