Barbara Strupp

Web Bio Page

Current Activities

Current Professional Activities
Cornell University Graduate Field Membership: Psychology; Nutrition; Environmental Toxicology

Editorial Board, Neurotoxicology and Teratology

External Advisory Committee, NIH Program Project grant concerning the Cognitive and Neural Effects of Early Developmental Iron Deficiency; Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, B. Lozoff, PI, 2003-2013.

Neurobehavioral Teratology Society, Council Member

National Institutes of Health, Invited Reviewer, Special Review Committee, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers [RFA-HD-08-016], March 23-24, 2009 (frequent invited reviewer for NIH study sections).

Current Research Activities
Ongoing projects in my lab:

1. Perinatal choline supplementation research:  We have recently found that supplementing the maternal diet during pregnancy and lactation significantly improves attention and emotion regulation in a mouse model of Down syndrome.  A more circumscribed improvement in attention was also seen in the wildtype (control) littermates.  I am currently involved in a collaborative study with investigators at the University of Chicago and NYU to elucidate the neural mechanism(s) that underlies this lasting benefit.  We hypothesize that this benefit may reflect protection of cholinergic basal forebrain neurons, which atrophy in these mice with the onset of Alzheimer-like neuropathology.  Furthermore we hypothesize that this protection of cholinergic neurons is mediated by improved neurotrophin function.   This project should have clinical implications for identifying the choline intake during pregnancy and lactation that is optimal for cognitive functioning throughout the lifespan.  Parallel studies with human subjects are also ongoing with two DNS colleagues, (Drs. Caudill and Canfield),

2. Succimer chelation of lead-exposed primates: My lab is also collaborating with colleagues at the University of Wisconsin and UC-Santa Cruz on the analysis of data from a non-human primate study designed to assess the efficacy of succimer chelation for reducing lead-induced neurobehavioral dysfunction.  A prior study conducted in my lab several years ago provided the first evidence that succimer chelation could significantly ameliorate lead-induced cognitive dysfunction.  This study also provided the first evidence that chelation therapy can produce lasting cognitive deficits if given to individuals without elevated lead levels.  This latter finding was pivotal in halting an NIH clinical trial of the efficacy of succimer chelation in treating autistic children.  It will be important to assess whether these same effects are seen in non-human primates.

3. The cognitive effects of altered folate status:  My lab is also collaborating with Dr. Patrick Stover's lab to assess the effects of altered folate status on cognitive functioning and emotion regulation.  Folate status was manipulated in this study by manipulating dietary folate intake, assessed in conjunction with a mutation in the Mthfd1 gene. This study will provide novel information concerning the role of folate status in cognitive and affective functioning.


Biographical Statement
Barbara Strupp received her Bachelor's degree in Ethology from Washington University in 1976, and her Ph.D. degree in Psychology in 1982 from Cornell University.  She conducted postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health (Biological Psychiatry Branch, NIMH) from 1981-1983.   She then returned to Cornell University in 1983, funded by a National Institutes of Health New Investigator Research Award.  She currently serves as Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology.  Professor Strupp is a member of the Graduate Fields of Nutrition, Psychology, and Environmental Toxicology and the Program in Neuroscience.   Her research group has been funded by three institutes at the NIH (NICHD, NIDA, and NIMH), including at least one active R01 continuously since 1983. These grants have supported research on numerous causes of human cognitive dysfunction (malnutrition, PKU, early lead exposure, prenatal cocaine exposure, Down syndrome, and Fragile X syndrome), as well as the development of novel techniques for detecting and delineating cognitive and affective dysfunction in rodent models.

Strupp’s research primarily deals with causes of human cognitive dysfunction, studies that involve both children and rodent models. The goals of the animal studies are to determine the nature and underlying neural basis of the cognitive dysfunction, with implications for therapeutic intervention and for elucidating basic brain-cognition relationships.  Current projects (described below) pertain to mouse models of Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome, rodent and non-human primate models of childhood lead exposure, and a murine model of genetic and dietary alterations in folate status.  Two human studies, one ongoing and one in the planning stages, pertain to the lasting cognitive effects of prenatal choline supplementation. 

  • Ph.D. 1982 - Cornell University, Biopsychology
  • B.A. 1976 - Washington University, Ethology

  • Keywords
    Down syndrome
    lead exposure
    chelation therapy
    Fragile X syndrome
    prenatal cocaine exposure
    behavioral neuroscience
    cognitive neuroscience
    nutrition and behavior
    choline supplementation

    Courses, Websites, Pubs

    Courses Taught
    NS 7030        Graduate Seminar in Nutrition

    NS 4010        Empirical Research in Nutrition

    NS 4990         Honors Research in Nutrition

    sych 4700    Undergraduate Research in Psychology

    Bio 2990         Undergraduate Research in Biology

    Bio 4990       Undergraduate Research in Biology

    Related Websites

    Psychology Web Page

    Program in Neuroscience

    Graduate Field of Environmental Toxicology

    Selected Publications

    Stangle, DE., Strawderman M, Smith D., Kuypers M, & Strupp BJ. Repeated regimens of Succimer show different treatment efficacy in brain versus blood in a rodent model of childhood lead exposure, Environmental Health Perspectives, 112:302-308, 2004 (online, Oct. 31, 2003).

    Gendle MH, White TL, Strawderman M, Mactutus CF, Booze RM, Levitsky DA, and Strupp BJ. Enduring Effects of Prenatal Cocaine Exposure on Selective Attention and Reactivity to Errors: Evidence from an Animal Model. Behavioral Neuroscience, 118(2): 290-297, 2004.

    Driscoll LL; Carroll JC; Moon J-S; Crnic LS, Levitsky DA; Strupp BJ. Impaired Sustained attention and error-induced stereotypy in the aged Ts65Dn mouse, a mouse model of Down syndrome and Alzheimer disease. Behavioral Neuroscience, 2004, 118 (6): 1196–1205.

    Strupp BJ & Beaudin S. Assessing the neurobehavioral effects of early toxicant exposure: A perspective from animal research. In: Bellinger D (ed.), Human Developmental Neurotoxicology, New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group, 2006: 415-445.

    Moon J, Beaudin AE, Crnic L, Levitsky, DA, Strupp BJ. Impairments in inhibitory control, arousal regulation and sustained attention in the fmr1 mouse model of Fragile X syndrome. Behavioral Neuroscience, 2006 Dec;120(6):1367-79.

    Grantham-McGregor S, Cheung YB, Cueto S, Glewwe P, Richter L, Strupp B; International Child Development Steering Group. Developmental potential in the first 5 years for children in developing countries. Lancet. 2007 Jan; 369(9555):60-70.

    Stangle DE, Smith D, Beaudin SA, Strawderman MS, Levitsky DA, and Strupp BJ. Succimer chelation improves cognition and arousal regulation in lead-exposed rats but produces lasting cognitive impairment in the absence of lead exposure. Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Feb;115(2):201-9. Epub 2006 Oct 30.

    Beaudin SA, Stangle DE., Strawderman M, Levitsky, DA, and Strupp BJ. Succimer chelation normalizes emotion regulation in rats exposed to lead early in life: Evidence from an olfactory conditional discrimination task with periodic omission of an expected reward. Neurotox. Teratol 29: 188–202 (2007) [Online 12 November 2006].

    McNaughton, C. H., Moon, J., Strawderman, M. S., Maclean K. N., Evans, J., Strupp, B. J. (2008). Evidence for social anxiety and impaired social cognition in a mouse model of Fragile X syndrome. Behav. Neurosci, 2008 Apr;122(2):293-300.

    Moon J, Ota KT, Driscoll LL, Levitsky DA, Strupp BJ (2008). A mouse model of Fragile X syndrome exhibits heightened arousal and/or emotion following errors or reversal of contingencies. Developmental Psychobiology, 2008 Jul;50(5):473-85.

    Bushnell PJ, Strupp BJ. Assessing Attention in Rodents. In: Buccafusco J (Ed.), Methods of Behavior Analysis in Neuroscience, 2nd Edition. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group, 2008.

    Beaudin SA, Gendle MH, Strupp BJ. Lasting attentional and affective dysfunction produced by prenatal cocaine exposure in a rodent model: Gender effects. In: Gender Differences in Effects of Prenatal Substance Exposure", Lisa Kestler and Michael Lewis (Eds), American Psychological Association, in press.

    Moon J, Chen M, Gandhy SU, Strawderman M, Levitsky DA, Maclean KN, Strupp BJ. Perinatal choline supplementation improves cognitive functioning and emotion regulation in the Ts65Dn mouse model of Down syndrome. Behavioral Neuroscience, in press.