HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Christopher D. Walker, a biomedical research doctoral student at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, received a graduate research fellowship grant from the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium.
The $24,000 NASA grant will fund Walker’s research related to addiction during the next year. Under the direction of principal investigator Mary-Louise Risher, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biomedical research at the School of Medicine, Walker will use novel electrophysiology techniques to determine how adolescent intermittent binge ethanol exposure affects astrocyte-specific potassium buffering in the hippocampus, a complex brain structure deep in the temporal lobe.
“I am interested in understanding how acute and chronic adolescent intermittent binge drinking influences astrocyte morphology and function,” Walker said. “It is fascinating how ethanol’s effects on astrocytes contribute to the development of addiction.”
An Elkhorn City, Kentucky, native, Walker is completing his second year of the biomedical research Ph.D. program at Marshall University. He earned his undergraduate degree in biology with a minor in chemistry from the University of Pikeville in Pikeville, Kentucky.