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Susan Barron (Retired)

Research Interests:
Prenatal drug exposure
Behavioral teratology

My research focuses on the effects of prenatal drug exposure using a rodent model. A large part of the work that we do is in the field of behavioral teratology, that is, studying the effects that drug exposure in utero has on later behaviors. Our work focuses primarily on the effects of ethanol as well as ethanol’s interactions with other drugs since polydrug exposure is probably more appropriate for modeling clinical populations. We study a variety of behavioral paradigms ranging from simple neonatal assessments and social behaviors to complex cognitive functioning.

In addition, with collaborators here at the University of Kentucky as well as at other universities, we examine more mechanistic questions looking at neuroanatomical structures and neuropharmacological indicators in an attempt to understand how these drugs alter normal brain function. We are also currently interested in how novel compounds can reduce some of the toxic effects of ethanol on the CNS. Students that receive training in my laboratory have the opportunity to gain expertise in a variety of behavioral, neuroanatomical, neuropharmacological and cell culture techniques.


Students that conduct research in my laboratory have the opportunity for collaborative projects with faculty from a number of departments including (although not limited to) Anatomy and Neurobiology, Pharmacology, and Pharmacy.

Current Funding

Current funding for the majority of my research comes from the National Institute of Health.

Graduate Training

Ph.D. State Univ. of New York at Albany, 1987

Selected Publications:

*represents graduate or undergraduate students

Lewis, B.*, Wellmann, K.*, Barron, S. (2007) Agmatine reduces balance deficits in a rat model of third trimester binge-like alcohol exposure. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 88:114-21. PMID: 17714770.

Barron, S., Mulholland, P.J.*, Littleton, J.M., Prendergast, M.A. (2008) Age and gender dependent differences in response to neonatal ethanol withdrawal and polyamine challenge in organotypic hippocampal cultures. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 32:929-36. PMID: 18445110.

Farook, J.M., Lewis, B.*, Morrell, D.J.*, Krazem, A., Littleton, J.M., Barron, S. (2008) Acamprosate attenuates the handling induced convulsions during alcohol withdrawal in Swiss-Webster mice. Physiology and Behavior 95:267-70. PMID: 18577392

Stepanyan, T.D.*, Farook, J.M., Kowalski, A. Kaplan, E., Barron, S., Littleton, J.M. (2008) Alcohol withdrawal induced hippocampal neurotoxicity in vitro and seizures in vivo are both reduced by memantine. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 2:2128-35. PMID: 18828800.

Farook, J.M., Littleton, J.M., Barron, S. (2009) Topiramate reduces stress-induced alcohol consumption in C57BL/6J mice. Physiology and Behavior 96:189-93. PMID: 18786555

Rubin, M.A., Overgaauw, B.O., Wellmann, K.A.* Lewis, B.*, Littleton, J.M., Barron, S. (2009) Difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) reduces deficits in isolation-induced ultrasonic vocalizations and balance following neonatal ethanol exposure in rats. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 92:44-50. PMID: 1899227

Farook J.M., Lewis B.*, Gaddis J.G., Littleton J.M., Barron S. (2009) Effects of mecamylamine on alcohol consumption and preference in male C57BL/6J mice. Pharmacology. 83:379-84. PMID: 1946825.

Farook J.M., Lewis B.*, Gaddis J.G., Littleton J.M., Barron S. (2009) Lobeline, a nicotinic partial agonist attenuates alcohol consumption and preference in male C57BL/6J mice. Physiology and Behavior 97:503-6. PMID: 1926867.

Wellmann, K.A.*, Lewis, B.*, Barron, S. (2010) Agmatine reduces ultrasonic vocalization deficits in female rat pups exposed neonatally to ethanol. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 32:158-163. PMID: 19945529.

Gomes, G.M., Mello, C.F., Melgarejo da Rosa, M., Vargas Bochi, G.V., Ferreira, J., Barron, S., Rubin, M.A. (2010) Polyaminergic agents modulate contextual fear extinction in rats. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 93:589-95.PMID: 20206278

Lewis*, B., Wellmann*, K.A. Kehrberg, A.M.H., Carter*, M.L., Baldwin*, T., Cohen*, M. Barron, S.  (2012) Behavioral deficits and cellular damage following developmental ethanol exposure in rats are attenuated by CP-101,606, an NMDAR antagonist with unique NR2B specificity.  Pharmacol, Biochem and Behavior, 100: 545-553. PMID