Medical student’s research offers insight into neural changes caused by parasitic infection


Michael Shlossman, a fourth-year student at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, researched Toxoplasma and its effect on alterations in four areas of the brain. His research focused on dopamine, a neurotransmitter made in the body and used to send messages between nerve cells. T. gondii can increase dopamine levels in mice, and Shlossman’s goal was to figure out how.

His project was an expansion of a long-standing study in the lab of Michael Fox at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC. Fox is a professor at the institute as well as professor and director of the School of Neuroscience and professor of biological sciences at Virginia Tech.