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Department of Neuroscience

Neuroscience at AU

The Department of Neuroscience integrates faculty throughout the College of Arts and Sciences into a range of projects aimed at understanding the interrelationships between the brain and behavior. Neuroscience and affiliated faculty support degrees in numerous related programs, in addition to the BS and PhD:

Research Labs & Projects

Recent Publications

Clasen, M., Sanon, T., Hempel, B., Nelson, K., Kearns, D., Davidson, T., & Riley, A. Ad-libitum high fat diet consumption during adolescence and adulthood impacts the intravenous self-administration of cocaine in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2020, 28, 32-43.

Riley, A., Nelson, K., To, P., López-Arnau, R., Xu, P., Wang, D., Wang, D., Shen, H-W., Kuhn, D., Angoa-Perez, M., Anneken, J., Muskiewicz, D., & Hall, F. Abuse potential and toxicity of the synthetic cathinones (i.e., “Bath Salts”). Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 2020, 110, 150-173.

Duncan KA & Saldanha CJ. (2020). Central aromatization: a dramatic and responsive defense against threat and trauma to the vertebrate brain. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology. 56: 100816. Epub Nov 28, 2019.

Bailey, DJ & Saldanha, CJ. (2020). Estrogenic regulation of spatial memory in songbirds. In: Estrogens and Memory: Basic Research and Clinical Implications. Frick KM (Ed). Oxford University Press.

McGrath L.M. and Stoodley C.J. 2019. Are there shared neural correlates between Dyslexia and ADHD? A meta-analysis of voxel-based morphometry studies. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 11:31.

Amarante LA, Newport  J, Mitchell M, Wilson J, Laubach M. An open source syringe pump controller for fluid delivery of multiple volumes. eNeuro, 2019 August 15; ENEURO.0240-19.2019.

Swanson K, Goldbach HC, Laubach M. The rat medial frontal cortex controls pace, but not breakpoint, in a progressive ratio licking task. Behavioral Neuroscience, 2019, August 1; 133 (4), 385. 

White SR, Amarante LA, Kravitz AV, Laubach M.  The Future is Open: Open-Source Tools for Behavioral Neuroscience Research. eNeuro, 2019 July 29; ENEURO. 0223-19.2019.

Davidson, T. L., Jones, S., Roy, M., & Stevenson, R. J. (2019). The Cognitive Control of Eating and Body Weight: It's More Than What You "Think". Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 62. 

Clasen, M. M., Sanon, T. V., Hempel, B.J., Nelson, K.H., Kearns, D.N., Davidson, T.L., & Riley, A.L. (2019) Ad-libitum high fat diet consumption during adolescence and adulthood increases the intravenous self-administration of cocaine in male Sprague-Dawley rats. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, Apr. 18 [Epub ahead of print].

Jones, S., Sample, C.H., Davidson, T.L. (2018). The effects of a GLP-1 analogue liraglutide on reward value and the learned inhibition of appetitive behavior in male and female rats. International Journal of Obesity, 43(9):1875-1879.

Jones, S., Sample C.H., Davidson, T.L. (2018). Associative mechanisms underlying the function of satiety cues in the control of energy intake and appetitive behavior. Physiology & Behavior, 192, 37-49.

Sample, C.H. & Davidson, T.L. (2018). Considering sex differences in the cognitive controls of feeding. Physiology & Behavior, 187, 97-107.

Sample C.H., Jones, S., Dwider, F., Davidson, T.L. (2018). Discriminative control by deprivation states and external cues in male and female rats. Physiology & Behavior, 184, 91-99.

Davidson, T.L., Hargrave, S.L., Kearns, D.N., Clasen, M.M., Jones, S., Wakefield, A.G.P., Sample, C.H., Riley, A.L. (2018). Cocaine impairs serial-feature negative learning and blood-brain barrier integrity. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 170, 56-63.

Laubach M, Amarante LM, Swanson K, White SR, (2018). What, if anything, is rodent prefrontal cortex? Eneuro. 2018 Oct, 18; 5 (5). 

Amarante LM, Caetano MS, Laubach M. Medial Frontal Theta Is Entrained to Rewarded Actions. J Neurosci. 2017 Nov 1;37(44):10757-10769. . 

Stoodley C.J., D’Mello A.M.**, Ellegood J., Jakkamsetti V., Liu P., Nebel M.B., Gibson J., Kelly E., Meng F., Cano C., Pascual J., Mostofsky S.H., Lerch J.P., and Tsai P.T. 2017. Altered cerebellar connectivity in autism spectrum disorders and cerebellar-mediated rescue of autism-related behaviors in mice. Nature Neuroscience 20:1744–1751.

Jones, S., Sample, C.H., Davidson, T.L. (2018). The effects of a GLP-1 analogue liraglutide on reward value and the learned inhibition of appetitive behavior in male and female rats. International Journal of Obesity, 43(9):1875-1879.

Jones, S., Sample C.H., Davidson, T.L. (2018). Associative mechanisms underlying the function of satiety cues in the control of energy intake and appetitive behavior. Physiology & Behavior, 192, 37-49.

Sample, C.H. & Davidson, T.L. (2018). Considering sex differences in the cognitive controls of feeding. Physiology & Behavior, 187, 97-107.

Sample C.H., Jones, S., Dwider, F., Davidson, T.L. (2018). Discriminative control by deprivation states and external cues in male and female rats. Physiology & Behavior, 184, 91-99.

Davidson, T.L., Hargrave, S.L., Kearns, D.N., Clasen, M.M., Jones, S., Wakefield, A.G.P., Sample, C.H., Riley, A.L. (2018). Cocaine impairs serial-feature negative learning and blood-brain barrier integrity. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 170, 56-63.

Laubach M, Amarante LM, Swanson K, White SR, (2018). What, if anything, is rodent prefrontal cortex? Eneuro. 2018 Oct, 18; 5 (5). 

Amarante LM, Caetano MS, Laubach M. Medial Frontal Theta Is Entrained to Rewarded Actions. J Neurosci. 2017 Nov 1;37(44):10757-10769. . 

Stoodley C.J., D’Mello A.M.**, Ellegood J., Jakkamsetti V., Liu P., Nebel M.B., Gibson J., Kelly E., Meng F., Cano C., Pascual J., Mostofsky S.H., Lerch J.P., and Tsai P.T. 2017. Altered cerebellar connectivity in autism spectrum disorders and cerebellar-mediated rescue of autism-related behaviors in mice. Nature Neuroscience 20:1744–1751.

Bulletins

Samantha White (AU '18, current BCaN PhD student) has won a grant from the Cosmos Club, a prestigious award by this longstanding DC science group. The funds will support her dissertation research on learning and decision making. Additionally, Samantha also received a Trainee Professional Development Award from the Society for Neuroscience. This a program focused on mentoring, professional skills development, networking for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers that is organized by the Society. Congratulations, Sam!

Two Neuroscience undergrads and three BCaN PhD candidates won awards for their research at the 2020 virtual Mathias Conference.

Linda Amarante (PhD, BCaN '20) won American University's 2020 Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level Award.

Brendan Tunstall (PhD, BCaN) was awarded an National Institutes of Health K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award for his post-doctoral research.

Terry Davidson has been appointed as a Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience by American University’s Board of Trustees.

Spotlight

Laura Rice

PhD, Behavior, Cognition, and NeuroscienceLaura Rice

Since arriving at American University in 2017, Laura Rice (PhD candidate, Behavior, Cognition, and Neuroscience) has been hard at work in the classroom and the laboratory, investigating the role of the cerebellum in autism.

Laura is using a combination of neuroimaging and neuromodulation methods in her research, which suggest that the cerebellum supports features of autism through its role in modulating neural circuits and behaviors. She uses a transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a noninvasive form of neuromodulation, to electrically alter the cerebellum and tune neural circuits and behaviors in adults with and without autism. Her preliminary findings suggest that cerebellar tDCS alters neural circuits that underlie social behaviors in autism.

At American University, I have developed immensely as a scientist through plentiful opportunities to present my research findings, pursue collaborations, earn funding, and attend symposia, conferences, and workshops with the field's leading experts. My mentor, Dr. Catherine Stoodley, has been instrumental to my growth and development as a scientist. She strikes the perfect balance between providing guidance and fostering independence, and she has not only helped me to grow as a scientist, but as a student, teacher, mentor, and human. Her leadership and mentorship have helped me to build resilience and confidence as a woman in STEM.

Samantha White

PhD Student Talks Neuroscience Outreach at AU

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