June 11, 2020



Opioid use among pregnant women is a growing public health concern in the United States. Infants exposed to opioids in utero are at high risk of exhibiting Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NOWS), a combination of physical withdrawal symptoms including high pitched crying, sleeplessness, irritability, gastrointestinal distress, and in the worst cases, seizures. However, the long-term effects of NOWS are not well understood. Further, the biological effects of early life opioid exposure are difficult to separate from environmental factors, such as home conditions and parenting strategies. Our ongoing projects seek to 1) deliver new insight into the neurobiological mechanisms underlying neonatal opioid withdrawal,  2) elucidate potential developmental and long-term neurobehavioral consequences of early life opioid exposure and withdrawal and 3) explore novel targets for pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment and/or prevention of NOWS.