Associate Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., University of Colorado
Post-doctoral fellowship: Naval Health Research Center, Dayton, OH
Area: Behavioral Neuroscience
Office: Science IV, Room 359
Curriculum vitae (pdf, 291.8kb)
Member of the Society for Neuroscience, The Endocrine Society, Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society, and the Center for Development and Behavioral Neuroscience (Binghamton University).
Stress responsive systems, neuroendocrinology, neural-immune interactions, behavior.
Psychological stress is pervasive in all walks of life, and clearly plays a role in the etiology of many major psychiatric conditions. As such, the primary goal of my research is to determine how organisms respond and adapt to psychologically stressful events. To this end, we use animal models to examine three different aspects of responses to stress, including: (a) basic neuroendocrinology of stress, (b) stress effects on behavior, and (c) stress-immune interactions. Specifically, the neuroendocrine component of the laboratory focuses on long term adaptations that occur in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis following stress. The behavioral component of the laboratory seeks to determine the neural mechanisms underlying specific behavioral responses that occur as a result of stressor exposure. Finally, recent progress in the field suggests that exposure to stressors can activate some aspects of immunity, and thereby facilitate immune function. The neural mechanisms underlying these changes is the third area of inquiry in my laboratory. While these three areas are frequently treated as discrete topics of research, the neural mechanisms which govern stress-induced changes in behavior, neuroendocrine, and immune function appear to share a high degree of overlap. Thus, a cohesive picture of the inter-relatedness of these topics has begun to emerge in recent years. In order to address these issues, my laboratory employs a diverse range of biochemical, physiological, and behavioral measures to answer questions that are pertinent to the field of stress research.
Philosophy of Graduate Training:
My goal is to provide the theoretical background that can be used as a springboard for students to develop independent research agendas. In this same spirit, students in my laboratory are encouraged to learn as many techniques as possible (behavioral, biochemical and surgical), and to develop novel techniques whenever necessary. I believe this approach fosters an atmosphere of innovation that extends far beyond simple technique. I also emphasize the development of skills necessary to communicate research ideas to the greater scientific community, including presentations (both posters and colloquia style) and effective writing (both manuscripts and grants).
Arakawa, H., Arakawa, K. & Deak, T. (2010). Sickness-related odor communication signals as determinants of social behavior in rat: a role for inflammatory processes. Hormones & Behavior, 57(3), 330-341.
Blandino Jr., P, Barnum, CJ, Solomon, LG, Larish, Y, Lankow, BS & Deak, T. (2009). Gene expression changes in the hypothalamus provide evidence for regionally-selective changes in IL-1 and microglial markers after acute stress. Brain, Behavior & Immunity, 23, 958-968.
Barnum, C.J., Blandino Jr., P. & Deak, T. (2008). Social status modulates basal IL-1 concentrations in the hypothalamus of pair-housed rats and influences certain features of stress reactivity. Brain, Behavior & Immunity, 22, 517-527.
Deak, T. (2007). From classic aspects of the stress response to neuroinflammation and sickness: implications for individuals and offspring of diverse species. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 20, 96-110.
Barnum, C.J., Blandino Jr., P. & Deak, T. (2007). Adaptation of corticosterone and hyperthermic responses to stress following repeated stressor exposure. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 19(8), 632-642.