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headshot of Deborah Kreiss

Deborah Kreiss

Neuroscience, Research Assistant Professor

First-year Research Immersion Program


My research focus concerns the neurobiology of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Although OCD affects 2-3% of the population, current pharmacological treatments are problematic in that they require 8-10 weeks of treatment, side effects can be troublesome, and approximately half of patients do not respond.Animal models of psychiatric disorders are an invaluable resource with which to explore new treatment options. My research utilizes a novel rodent model of OCD in which rats are treated with the serotonin-norepinephrine uptake inhibitor clomipramine during the neonatal developmental period in which the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis is maturing.A combination of behavioral, pharmacological, neurochemical, and histological techniques are used to assess the activity of the rats’ cortical-basal ganglia-limbic circuits as these have been shown to be abnormal in imaging studies of OCD patients.

Representative Publications (*denotes undergraduate student authors)

Kreiss DS and De Deurwaerdère, P (2017) Purposeless oral activity induced by meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (m-CPP): undefined tic-like behaviors? Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 292:30-36

Kreiss DS, *Coffman CF, *Fiacco NR, *Granger JC, *Helton BM, *Jackson JC, *Kim LV, *Mistry RS, *Mizer TM, *Palmer LV, *Vacca JA, *Winkler SS, and *Zimmer BA (2013) Ritualistic Chewing Behavior induced by mCPP in the rat is an animal model of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 104:119–124

Allers KA, Bergstrom DA, Ghazi LJ, Kreiss DS, and Walters JR (2005) MK801 and amantadine exert different effects on subthalamic neuronal activity in a rodent model of Parkinson’s disease. Experimental Neurology. 191: 104-118

Kreiss DS, Mastropietro CW, Rawji SS, and Walters JR (1997) The response of subthalamic nucleus neurons to dopamine receptor stimulation in a rodent model of Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Neuroscience. 17:6807-6819

Kreiss DS and Lucki I. (1995) Effects of acute and repeated administration of antidepressant drugs on extracellular levels of 5-hydroxytryptamine measured in vivo. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 274:866-876


  • Postdoc, National Institutes of Neurological Disorders & Stroke
  • PHD, University of Pennsylvania
  • BA, Cornell University

Research Interests

  • Biological basis of pathology and treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Evaluation of animal models of anxiety and depressive disorders
  • Physiological mechanisms mediating the therapeutic effects of psychoactive agents

Teaching Interests

  • Freshman Research Immersion Program, Neuroscience Stream
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Behavioral neuroscience