DC: Drugs, Genes, Imaging and STEAM @ OHSU

The Department of Behavioral Neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University is a basic science department engaged in cutting edge research and teaching focused on behavioral pharmacology, genetics, and cognitive neuroscience…


Behavioral Neuroscience is sending four graduate students, with expertise in drug and brain development research, neuroimaging, and STEAM outreach to our spring events in Washington DC.


OHSU is another welcome co-sponsor of the House Neuroscience and STEAM caucus “Brains + Art” briefing as well!


Learn more about our OHSU participants below…


Graduate students

  1. Monique Smith; smithmo@ohsu.edu; 5th year student in Andrey Ryabinin’s lab; My research goal is to understand behavioral, genetic, neuroanatomical and neurochemical factors that lead to addiction and pain related behaviors. As a first generation college student, born outside of the country, the path was not always clear. However, I have persevered to receive a unique combination of training in studying drug- and pain-related behaviors. My background has led me to my current position with a unique conceptual framework. I believe that by unraveling the behavioral and neurobiological relationships between pain and addiction we will be able to better understand how to treat these pathologies. Dissertation: Social Transfer of Pain. Current funding: Individual NRSA, F31AA022824 Analysis of Edinger Westphal nucleus activity following alcohol. Learn more:  Google Scholar Citations, @CommnScience, and Common Science blog.
  2. Vanessa Jimenez; wakeling@ohsu.edu; 4th year student in Kathy Grant’s lab; It is well known that stress can increase alcohol consumption, but long-term alcohol consumption also alters the physiologic stress response. My research interests are aimed at better understanding the complex and bidirectional relationship between stress and alcohol. Dissertation: Ultrastructural and electrophysiological properties of the hypothalamic and paraventricular nucleus of macaque following long term ethanol self-administration; Current funding: NIH T32AA007468-29, institutional training grant, Biological Bases of Alcoholism.
  3. Brian Mills; mills@ohsu.edu; 4th year student in Damien Fair’s lab; Brian is a graduate student in the behavioral neuroscience program at OHSU under the mentorship of Dr. Damien Fair. His research uses resting state functional connectivity MRI to investigate brain network structure, or “the connectome,” in children with ADHD and autism. He also uses this non-invasive MRI tool as a bridge measurement to study network connectivity patterns in non-human primate and rodent models of developmental disorders. His goal is to better understand the neurophysiology and causal mechanisms that contribute to these disorders in order to refine diagnoses and improve treatments and interventions to be used in humans. Proposed dissertation title: Resting state connectivity MRI in the rodent brain: Applications to human disease; Current funding: NIH T32DA007262-25, institutional training grant, Biological Bases of Drug-Seeking Behavior.  Learn more:  ResearchGate;  Linked In;  Fair Lab Students
  4. Christie Pizzimenti; pizzimen@ohsu.edu; 4th year student in Matt Lattal’s lab;  Christie studies the neurobiological substrates of learning and memory. Specifically, Christie is interested in understanding the relationship between fear and stress related disorders and addiction. Individuals with the anxiety disorder posttraumatic stress disorder are more likely to develop a substance use disorder, and are more likely to relapse to drugs of abuse, even following long periods of abstinence. Christie’s research aims to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms that account for this increased vulnerability. Ultimately, Christie’s research may lead to the development of novel therapeutic targets to promote wellness in vulnerable populations. Proposed dissertation title: The effects of a prior aversive event on drug seeking in rats; Current funding: NIH T32DA007262-25, institutional training grant, Biological Bases of Drug-Seeking Behavior

Christie Photo


Learn more about our plans for the other Washington at the link below…

STEAMing to DC

DC poster final

EXPLORE MORE:  The stunning campus setting of OHSU (video by Alex Voigt)…


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