Linda Wilkin-Krug

The effects of environmental enrichment on higher social and cognitive functioning in a rat model of autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Profile

Linda completed her Bachelor of Science with Honours in experimental Psychology at Massey University in 2017.  Her social cognition Honours project explored how social pain impacted on facial gaze patterns. In 2018 she joined Victoria University’s Behavioural Neurogenetics Group to pursue a PhD in behavioural neuroscience, focussing on an empathy animal model for autism spectrum disorder.  Autism is a condition affecting social interactions and communication and has been linked to several genes. But genes are only half the story; environmental factors (e.g. stress, social interaction, or trauma) can switch genes on or off.  Linda’s research will investigate how growing up in an enriched environment impacts on gene expression and empathy-driven behaviours in autistic individuals. She hopes that her findings will be useful to guide advances in the treatment of autism, which in turn will improve the quality of life of those affected.  Outside of psychology research, Linda loves to be creative in the kitchen, read a good book, and go mountain-biking

Qualifications

Bachelor of Communication - Academy for Communication (AKK) Kassel, Germany
Bachelor of Science (Honours) - Massey University

Research Interests

Animal models, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, gene environment interaction

PhD topic

The effects of environmental enrichment on higher social and cognitive functioning in a rat model of autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Supervisor/s

Lab Association

Behavioural Neurogenetics Group - Directed by Bart Ellenbroek

Within the Behavioural Neurogenetics Group (BNG), we aim to increase our understanding of the aetiology and neurobiology of symptoms related to several psychiatric disorders. At present we mainly focus on cognition, drug addiction, affect and social behaviour and communication.