Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Ethanol is a teratogen that disrupts normal development and results in a spectrum of physical, behavioral and neuronal impairments. Certain brain areas have been found to be more vulnerable to prenatal ethanol exposure (PNEE), once of which is the primary structure of interest in the Christie laboratory – the hippocampus, a structure important for learning and memory. We actively collaborate with other laboratories internationally in order to better understand how PNEE affects brain health and function.

Modeling FASD

Due to the ethical issues, and confounding variable associated with studying FASD in the human population, the Christie laboratory uses an array of different techniques to model FASD, which we have described in detail in some of our latest review papers:


The Christie laboratory specializes in electrophysiology to examine how neural communication in the hippocampus is altered by PNEE. We use both in vitro (acute slice) and in vivo (whole animal) whole cell and field electrophysiology to study hippocampal synaptic plasticity. These data can also be correlated with an array behavioral studies including the Morris Water Maze and Barnes Maze and with immunohistochemical studies examining neuronal structure, neurogenesis and other markers of brain health.


Want to learn more?  

Check out our latest publications to learn more about the work being done in the Christie laboratory related to FASD. You can also take a look at this handout for some facts and a brief overview of FASD.