Manon Ranger

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Biomarkers of early stress exposure
Brain development

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
I am interested in working with undergraduate students on research projects.

Research Methodology

Translational research
Ultrasonic vocalizations
Behavioral testing in rodents
RCT, cohort studies, mixed-methods


Master's students
Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows

I am conducting novel translational research to advance the health and care of children and their families. Specifically, my long-term goal is to improve the care of infants born preterm (< 37 weeks gestation). To accomplish this, I am leading a research program to address the impact of early stress, such as pain, inflammation, clinical treatments and maternal separation, on the developing brain of very preterm infants, and to assure that these findings will be translated into clinical practice. Particularly, I aim to determine possible mechanisms underlying the effects of early stress, such as pain-related changes, and to test novel mitigating treatments in both animal models and in human infants. Indeed, in order to improve clinical care for preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), much more research is needed to examine long-term effects of neonatal early exposure to stressful events and treatments on brain development and later outcomes, particularly in those born very preterm (< 32 weeks gestation); this work is necessary so that we can understand the etiology of neurodevelopmental problems which occur at high rates in these vulnerable children.

I support public scholarship, e.g. through the Public Scholars Initiative, and am available to supervise students and Postdocs interested in collaborating with external partners as part of their research.
I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.
I am open to hosting Visiting International Research Students (non-degree, up to 12 months).
I am interested in supervising students to conduct interdisciplinary research.

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Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Short-term effects of repeated neonatal oral sucrose treatment and pain on hippocampal and serum inflammatory cytokine levels and microglia density in mouse pups (2023)

Background: In the neonatal intensive care unit, preterm infants experience 7-17 clinically required but painful procedures daily. Oral sucrose is the standard treatment for minor procedural pain, but the combined short-term cumulative effects of sucrose treatment for pain on brain development are unknown. Using a neonatal mouse paradigm, previous studies found that during the 1st week of life, repeated pain and/or sucrose exposure impaired short-term memory and reduced regional and white matter structure volumes in adulthood, including the corpus callosum, fimbria, and the hippocampus. The objective of this study was to determine whether repeated neonatal pain and/or sucrose exposure altered pro/anti-inflammatory markers, specifically IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α, in hippocampal tissue and serum of 8-day old mouse pups. Hippocampal microglial density of male mouse pups was also examined.Methodology: Using a previously established neonatal mouse paradigm, neonatal mice were randomly assigned to receive water or 24% oral sucrose prior to being handled or needle-pricked, 10X/day from postnatal day (P) 1-6. Blood and hippocampal tissue were collected at P8 and assayed for various cytokines (e.g. IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α). In addition to cytokine levels, microglial density was assessed in the hippocampus of P8 male mice.Results: Although no sex effects were evident, a significant group effect was found for several inflammatory cytokines. Hippocampal IL-10 levels were significantly lower in sucrose + handling (p
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