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Dr. Elizabeth Yen Wins Russo Award

Elizabeth Yen, MD is a neonatologist at Tufts Children's Hospital at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.MIRI PI Dr. Elizabeth Yen, has received the Russo Family Award. The award, made possible by an endowed gift from the Russo Family Charitable Foundation to the Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM),  provides funding for new collaborative projects of TUSM faculty. The study, entitled “Revealing neural mechanisms underlying neonatal opioid-induced hyperphagia,” aims to reverse translate insights derived from studying translational modifications in the saliva of newborns exposed to opioids to develop a rodent model of exposure that will allow the investigators to understand the neural mechanisms underlying this unique feeding phenotype. 

The Yen Lab at the Mother Infant Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center and the Byrnes-Vassoler Lab at the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine will collaborate in this mechanistic and translational study to examine the effects of prenatal opioid exposure on the neural circuits that regulate feeding behaviors and metabolism. Based on the neonatal salivary data in the Yen Lab showing the molecular impact of prenatal opioid exposure that correlates with the development of hyperphagia, the Byrnes-Vassoler Lab will develop a rodent model of exposure that will allow the investigators to understand the neural mechanisms underlying this unique feeding phenotype. The in-depth interrogation of neural mechanisms under controlled conditions will in turn guide future clinical studies informed by preclinical target identification with potential for novel gene research and preventative measures in opioid-exposed neonates.

Read more about Dr. Yen’s research here >