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headshot of Terrence Deak

Terrence Deak

Professor

Psychology

Background

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 Deak's research is to determine how organisms respond and adapt to psychologically stressful events. To this end, they 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 his laboratory. While these three areas are frequently treated as discrete topics of research, the neural mechanisms that 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, his laboratory employs a diverse range of biochemical, physiological and behavioral measures to answer questions that are pertinent to the field of stress research.

Education

  • PhD, MA, University of Colorado
  • BS, Bowling Green State University

Research Interests

  • Stress responsive systems
  • Neuroendocrinology
  • Neural-immune interactions
  • Alcohol
  • Developmental neurobiology and brain aging

Teaching Interests

  • Introductory Psychology
  • Neurobiology
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Neurobiology of stress
  • Behavior Neuroscience

Awards

  • Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, 2010-2011
  • NARSAD Young Investigator Award, 2003

Research Profile