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Chris Newland, psychology professor in the College of Liberal Arts, has received a National Institutes of Health R21 grant for his research, “Behavioral Epigenetics of Methylmercury Exposure.” With the grant award of $269,000, Newland will examine a potential mechanism by which exposure to methylmercury during crucial developmental periods disrupts the brain and has behavioral consequences. This work will take his research on the behavioral effects of contaminants into a couple of new directions. One component involves exposure during the adolescent period—an under-investigated developmental period especially in Environmental Health—but one that is important to brain development. A second direction lies in attempts to reverse, or rescue, methylmercury’s neurotoxicity either by using environmental enrichment or by using a drug, sodium butyrate, that can reverse certain epigenetic changes. Newland’s collaborator, Jeremy Day, from the department of neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is a former Auburn undergraduate who received one of the first Undergraduate Research Fellowships sponsored in his laboratory.