Dr Christine Jasoni
Our group is interested in understanding how early-life adversity, experienced by fetuses and neonates from pregnancies with maternal complications, affects the formation and function of the offspring brain. We focus primarily on maternal obesity during pregnancy, but more recently we have begun examining preterm birth. Our major work has been in defining molecular (epigenetic and gene expression) and morphological (axonal projections and connectivity) changes that occur during in utero development. We aim firstly to understand the mechanisms that can explain how gestation in an obese mother leads to changes in developmental gene expression and axonal connectivity in the forming fetal brain. In addition, we wish to uncover how the changes we have discovered contribute to behavioural alterations, such as deregulated body weight homeostasis, autism spectrum disorder, and ADHD, which are known to come about with greater frequency in individuals who underwent gestation in an obese mother.