ZFIN ID: ZDB-LAB-980203-1839
Bilotta Neuroscience Laboratory
PI/Director: Bilotta, Joe
Contact Person: Bilotta, Joe
Email:
URL:
Address: Department of Psychology Western Kentucky University 1 Big Red Way Bowling Green, KY 42101 USA
Country: United States
Phone: (270) 745-6314
Fax: (270) 745-6934
Line Designation: None assigned


GENOMIC FEATURES ORIGINATING FROM THIS LAB No data available


STATEMENT OF RESEARCH INTERESTS
The Neuroscience Laboratory of Western Kentucky University is presently involved with examining the effects of environmental stressors on neural development. It has been known for some time that the environment can affect both pre- and postnatal development. Our current understanding of the nervous system is that it is a dynamic, plastic system, designed to adjust to the environment. Therefore, it is essential to examine and understand the relationship between environmental stimulation and neural development.

Recently, a common fish found in many pet stores has left its domesticated lifestyle and entered the world of science. The importance of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) to many fields of science including genetics, biology and neuroscience is due to the fact that this vertebrate animal is able to reproduce prolifically and reach adulthood in three months. Many believe that the zebrafish may represent a unifying vertebrate model for studying genetics, developmental biology and neuroscience. The zebrafish has been used as a vertebrate model to study the effects of environmental stressors on anatomical development. For example, prenatal exposure to ethanol (alcohol) produces abnormal visual pathways to the brain. A deficiency of retinoic acid (vitamin A) produces anatomical changes in the visual system. Also, the light environment during early postnatal development affects visual development by altering the expression pattern of certain genes.

The Neuroscience Laboratory of Western Kentucky University is investigating the physiological and behavioral effects of environmental stressors on the zebrafish. Specifically, we are interested in the effects on sensory and learning ability of pre- and postnatal exposure to certain teratogens. These teratogens include unusual lighting conditions (such as constant light and constant dark), alcohol, vitamin deficiencies and drugs. At present, the laboratory uses techniques that assess visual ability both physiologically, using gross recording techniques (e.g., the electroretinogram) as well as recording the activity of individual neurons, and behaviorally using both reflexive and trained responses. Our laboratory also has a well established zebrafish breeding facility and a microscope workstation for determining the stages of zebrafish embryonic development. In addition, colleagues at the University of Louisville are collaborating on this work and providing their expertise in histology in order to assess the anatomical changes resulting from the environmental stressors. The long-term goal of the present work is to integrate information from genetics, anatomy, physiology and behavior in order to obtain a complete picture of neural development and the effects of the environment on development. This is growing concern for not only scientists, but physicians and parents as well.


LAB MEMBERS


ZEBRAFISH PUBLICATIONS OF LAB MEMBERS
Krock, B.L., Bilotta, J., and Perkins, B.D. (2007) Noncell-autonomous photoreceptor degeneration in a zebrafish model of choroideremia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 104(11):4600-4605
Morris, A.C., Schroeter, E.H., Bilotta, J., Wong, R.O., and Fadool, J.M. (2005) Cone Survival Despite Rod Degeneration in XOPS-mCFP Transgenic Zebrafish. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 46(12):4762-4771
Bilotta, J., Trace, S.E., Vukmanic, E.V., and Risner, M.L. (2005) Ultraviolet- and short-wavelength cone contributions alter the early components of the ERG of young zebrafish. International journal of developmental neuroscience : the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience. 23(1):15-25
Bilotta, J., Risner, M.L., Davis, E.C., and Haggbloom, S.T. (2005) Assessing Appetitive Choice Discrimination Learning in Zebrafish. Zebrafish. 2(4):259-268
Bilotta, J., Barnett, J.A., Hancock, L., and Saszik, S. (2004) Ethanol exposure alters zebrafish development: A novel model of fetal alcohol syndrome. Neurotoxicology and teratology. 26(6):737-743
Dixon, L.J., McDowell, A.L., Houchins, J.D., and Bilotta, J. (2004) Effects of restricted spectral rearing on the development of zebrafish retinal physiology. Documenta ophthalmologica. Advances in ophthalmology. 109(1):17-33
McDowell, A.L., Dixon, L.J., Houchins, J.D., and Bilotta, J. (2004) Visual processing of the zebrafish optic tectum before and after optic nerve damage. Visual neuroscience. 21(2):97-106
Bilotta, J., Saszik, S., Givin, C.M., Hardesty, H.R., and Sutherland, S.E. (2002) Effects of embryonic exposure to ethanol on zebrafish visual function. Neurotoxicology and teratology. 24(6):759-766
Saszik, S., Alexander, A., Lawrence, T., and Bilotta, J. (2002) APB differentially affects the cone contributions to the zebrafish ERG. Visual neuroscience. 19(4):521-529
Patterson II, W.F., McDowell, A.L., Hughes, A., and Bilotta, J. (2002) Opponent and nonopponent contributions to the zebrafish electroretinogram using heterochromatic flicker photometry. Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology. 188(4):283-293
Bilotta, J., Saszik, S., and Sutherland, S.E. (2001) Rod contributions to the electroretinogram of the dark-adapted developing zebrafish. Developmental dynamics : an official publication of the American Association of Anatomists. 222(4):564-570
Bilotta, J. and Saszik S. (2001) The zebrafish as a model visual system. International journal of developmental neuroscience : the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience. 19(7):621-629
Saszik, S. and Bilotta, J. (2001) Constant dark-rearing effects on visual adaptation of the zebrafish ERG. International journal of developmental neuroscience : the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience. 19(7):611-619
Dixon, L.J., McDowell, A.L., Davis, E.C., Lawrence, T.A., Alexander, A.L., and Bilotta, J. (2001) Effects of bicuculline on the spectral sensitivity of the zebrafish ERG. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 42(4):960
Bilotta, J. (2000) Effects of abnormal lighting on the development of zebrafish visual behavior. Behavioural brain research. 116(1):81-87
Saszik, S. and Bilotta, J. (1999) Effects of abnormal light-rearing conditions on retinal physiology in larvae zebrafish. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science. 40(12):3026-3031
Saszik, S., Bilotta, J., and Givin, C.M. (1999) ERG assessment of zebrafish retinal development. Visual neuroscience. 16(5):881-888
Saszik, S. and Bilotta, J. (1999) The effects of temperature on the dark-adapted spectral sensitivity function of the adult zebrafish. Vision Research. 39:1051-1058
Bilotta, J., Saszik, S., and Hardesty, H.R. (1999) Establishing and maintaining a low-cost zebrafish breeding and behavioral research facility. Behav. Res. Meth. Instr. Comp.. 31(1):178-184
Hughes, A., Saszik, S., Bilotta, J., DeMarco, Jr., P.J., and Patterson II, W.F. (1998) Cone contributions to the photopic spectral sensitivity of the zebrafish ERG. Visual neuroscience. 15:1029-1037