Colleen Carpenter-Swanson's Lab

Roughly 30% of Americans suffer from at least one of the >1000 known neurological diseases. Unfortunately, many of these disorders are untreatable and much more work is necessary to further elucidate their underlying etiologies. Scientists have long utilized animal modeling of human disease as a means to decipher the mechanisms driving neurological diseases and it has provided a critical foundation for preclinical assessment of potential therapeutics. Rodents are the most widely used model for biomedical disease research and although they have provided us with invaluable information, they are not an ideal species for large-scale drug discovery projects. The Carpenter Lab investigates the applicability and scalability of zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a way to gain new insights and improve current difficulties in neurological disease research and drug discovery, with a focus on genetic epilepsies and amphetamine addiction. Undergraduates have the opportunity to join an interdisciplinary research program, where they can learn and employ techniques spanning the areas of genetics, molecular biology, pharmacology and physiology. Trainees are provided with the tools they will need to be effective scientific researchers and good lab citizens.

Current Projects

  • Modeling epilepsy comorbidities in zebrafish
  • Examining subtype-specific serotonergic modulation of Dravet Syndrome
  • Identifying biomarkers of pediatric encephalopathies
  • Evaluating the role of sigma receptors (σRs) and protein kinase C (PKC) in amphetamine action using zebrafish

Current Students

Aiyah Adam ‘23
Moriam Animashaun ‘25
Olivia Beatty ‘24
Emma Bender ‘23
Lesley Boadu ‘24
Kharma Hall ‘24
Kyle Puchalla ‘24

Lab Alums

Morgan Abdo ’22 (Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine)


Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome Foundation Early Investigator Grant (2021-2022)