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Chris Downing Ph.D
Department: Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences
I arrived at Idaho State University in August, 2009. I am currently an Assistant Professor in the College of Pharmacy, Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences. I received my B.A. in Psychology from Metropolitan State College of Denver, my M.S. in Neuropsychology from the University of Northern Colorado and my Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany. Following graduate school, I was a post-doctoral trainee at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder, where I remained as a Research Associate until my move to ISU.
My research interests lie in the broad area of genetics and drugs of abuse. Much of my earlier work focused on the use of inbred strains and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping to examine genetic influences mediating several alcohol-related phenotypes. More recently, I have returned to the area of genetic and epigenetic influences mediating differential sensitivity to the detrimental effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. We are currently using QTL mapping to identify regions on chromosomes that harbor alleles mediating susceptibility and resistance to ethanol teratogenesis. In addition, we are looking at changes in DNA methylation and gene expression at several imprinted loci following prenatal alcohol exposure. Finally, we are looking at changes in histone modifications (acetylation and methylation) following either prenatal alcohol or prenatal valproic acid exposure. Future research will begin to examine genetic influences on behavior following prenatal or early postnatal alcohol or valproic acid exposure.
Downing C, Flink S, Florez-McClure M, Johnson TE, Tabakoff B, Kechris K (2012). Gene expression changes in C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice following prenatal alcohol exposure. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 36, 1519-1529.
Downing C, Balderrama-Durbin C, Kimball A, Biers J, Wright H, Gilliam D, Johnson TE (2012). Quantitative trait locus mapping for ethanol teratogenesis in BXD recombinant inbred mice. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 36, 1340-1354.
Gilliam D, Valdez N, Branson S, Dixon A, Downing C (2011). Maternal effects on ethanol teratogenesis in a cross between A/J and C57BL/6J mice. Alcohol 45, 441-449.
Downing C, Johnson TE, Larson C, Leakey TI, Siegfried RN, Rafferty TM, Cooney CA (2011). Subtle decreases in DNA methylation and gene expression at the mouse Igf2 locus following prenatal alcohol exposure: Effects of a methyl-supplemented diet. Alcohol 45, 65-71.
Downing C, Marks M, Larson C, Johnson TE (2010). The metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 mediates sensitivity to the sedative properties of ethanol. Pharmacogenetics and Genomics 20, 553-564.
Downing C, Biers J, Larson C, Kimball A, Wright H, Ishii T, Gilliam DM, Johnson TE (2010). Genetic and maternal effects on valproic acid teratogenesis in C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice. Toxicological Sciences 116, 632-639.
Downing C, Balderrama-Durbin C, Broncucia H, Gilliam D, Johnson TE (2009). Ethanol teratogenesis in five inbred strains of mice. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 33, 1238-1245.
Downing C, Balderrama C, Hayes J, Johnson TE, Gilliam D (2009). No effect of prenatal alcohol exposure on activity in three inbred strains of mice. Alcohol Alcohol 44, 25-33.