Professor of Psychology
The use of animal models has enhanced the understanding of the biological processes involved in cognition and memory. There exists a wide range of methodologies to access symptomatic factors of memory disturbances and recovery of function. My research is a systems level analyses, focusing on animal models of memory disorders. Behavior of the whole organism is assessed before and after brain damage, and the extent of brain pathology is correlated with behavioral impairments. I am particularly interested in the interactions between specific types of learning and memory problems and specific neurochemical and neuroanatomical abnormalities. Using drugs, diet, neurotoxins, and aged rodents, I attempt to model human amnesia (i.e., Wernicke-Korsakoff's Syndrome [WKS], Alcoholic Dementia, Alzheimer's disease). Recently, my work has focused on both brain-behavioral dysfunction as well as compensatory mechanisms that lead to recovery of function. Undergraduate students are involved at all levels of analysis. Students behaviorally test subjects, perform routine surgical procedures, deliver treatment regimes, and do brain slicing and staining, evaluation of neuropathology, and data analysis and manuscript preparation.
Contact Lisa M. Savage, Science 4, Room 253.
Types of Research Experiences Available
A variety of projects are available for students to participate in. Each experiment involves multiple stages: pharmacological treatment, behavioral analysis, data collection, and neuroanatomical evaluation.
Students should have an interest in understanding behavioral-brain relationships. Basic courses in Learning & Memory, Physiological Psychology, and Psychobiology would be helpful. Very basic computer skills are needed to conduct behavioral assessment and data entry. After a brief trial period, students should be willing to commit approximately 10 hours a week for one or more semesters.