Korrick will conduct neuropsychological assessments of her subjects and measure traits, such as verbal or spatial reasoning, known to differ between males and females at this age.
"Adolescence is another period where sex hormones have a big impact on brain development and behavior and even physical development," Schantz said. This project will allow researchers to determine if exposure to BPA and phthalates hinders normal hormone signaling and alters the development of traits that differ between the sexes.
Illinois psychology professor Janice Juraska will conduct similar studies in rats exposed to the same chemicals "at time periods in the rats' lives that parallel prenatal development and adolescence in humans," Schantz said. Juraska will evaluate cell density in various brain regions to get a fuller picture of any changes that accompany exposure to the chemicals.
A fourth project will look at potential changes in the reproductive systems of male and female mice exposed to BPA and phthalates. Illinois comparative biosciences professor Jodi Flaws, a reproductive toxicologist and associate director of the new center, and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences researcher Humphrey Yao, a reproductive biologist, will use genetically altered mice to reveal the mechanisms by which these hormone mimics act on reproductive cells.
"Investigators from all four projects will work together closely to obtain a cohesive picture of the effects of bisphenol A and phthalates on infant and adolescent development, cognition, and behavior," Flaws said.
A key focus of the center will be education and outreach to the community.
|Contact: Diana Yates|
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign