Alexandra Stafford awarded “Best Student Poster Presentation” at VFHY conference

Pharmacology and Toxicology Ph.D. candidate, Alexandra M. Stafford, was awarded a prize for “Best Student Poster Presentation” at a regional conference on the topic of “The Future of Tobacco Control: Implications for the Prevention of Youth Tobacco Use in Virginia” hosted by the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth and the Virginia Youth Tobacco Project. Teens and adults tend to use alcohol and tobacco products together and previous rodent data suggested that stimulation of low affinity alpha 7 nicotinic receptors might be necessary for alcohol use in males. Alex’s project featured data that she collected using a model of mouse oral operant alcohol self-administration that she has helped to develop in the Brunzell laboratory. Alex observed that female mice showed alcohol reinforcement independent of alpha 7 nicotinic receptor expression. This early data could provide some clues about sex differences in regard to contributions of alpha 7 nicotinic receptors to comorbid alcohol and nicotine use. Presentations were judged by a panel of diverse nicotine/tobacco investigators across the state of Virginia.