Chronic Methylphenidate on Gene Expression

This is a drawing of a rat brain, which will be studied throughout this experiment.

Assist in analyzing the expression of the gene, Htr 7 in rat brains chronically exposed to Methylphenidate. Students interested in neuroscience and medicine will have the opportunity to assist in this analysis.

Project description

Our laboratory is interested in analyzing gene expression in rat brains that have been chronically exposed to Methylphenidate for 13 weeks. Methylphenidate is a psychostimulant, FDA approved for treating the common symptoms of ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Other research has studied the mechanism of action of Methylphenidate in individuals with ADHD, in which Methylphenidate, MP, inhibits the transporters of different neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. In turn, reuptake is blocked, increasing the synaptic concentrations of these neurotransmitters. Rat brains, homologous to the human brain, have families of genes that, in response to MP and this change in synaptic concentration, can have altered expression, dissipating specific symptoms associated with ADHD. In this project, the monoamine neurotransmitter gene, Htr 7, serotonin 7, can modulate behavioral impulsivity when potentiated. Prior research has suggested Htr7 has significantly been upregulated when exposed to MP in different regions of the rat brain. This project will use brain punching and homogenization to isolate the specific regions of the brain, then use RT-PCR to analyze the expression of this gene. By analyzing the gene expression, we can study and use this research to build a deeper understanding that may one day be applied to individuals with ADHD. This study can further develop the extent to which the genes are expressed when exposed to Methylphenidate. We are looking for students interested in assisting in this analysis and who have an interest in neuroscience and biology.

Project outcome

This project will provide students with the opportunity to write and submit abstract/posters as well as peer-reviewed research papers.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Year-long (10-12 months) 
Start time Anytime
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration Small group project (2-3 students)
Benefits Academic credit 
Who is eligible All undergraduate students 

Project mentor

Panayotis Thanos

Senior Research Scientist

Pharmacology and Toxicology

Phone: (716) 881-7520


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Students will watch supplied training videos and learn more about the background of the project. 
  • Students will read several articles from our lab that are related to the project the student will work on.


Pharmacology and Toxicology