E. Carla Parker-Athill
E. Carla Parker-Athill is interested in understanding the developmental impact of early life environment on behavioral, neurological and immunological outcomes. Her current work on the neurobiology of stress, focuses on how early life experiences of stress and/or trauma impact learning and behavior. Her research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of stress, and how hormones produced during stress, such as cortisol, regulate 1) lineage specification in neural stem cells; 2) synapse formation and; 3) behavior and learning.
Parker-Athill’s other work includes understanding the role of the immune system in neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD). Her graduate work examined the developmental impact of prenatal infection on behavioral, neurological and immunological outcomes as a model of Autism Spectrum Disorders, while her postdoctoral work focused on understanding the role of immune activationthe pathology and symptom course of OCD.
Parker-Athill has directed laboratories and mentored student researchers in projects aimed at understanding how environment influences behavior on a molecular level, and has conducted lectures that range from non-majors biology, cell biology and genetics, animal physiology, and the advance seminars in the biology of behavior. She is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and an active member of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.