Assistant Professor of Psychology
As a neuroscientist, both my research and teaching interests are focused on the physiological correlates of behavior. My dissertation research focused on the effects of the peptide hormones arg-vasopressin (AVP) and oxytocin (OT) on excitability in an area of the brain called the lateral amygdala (LA). The amygdala is a critical part of the limbic system with important roles in social behavior. Abnormal activity in the amygdala has been implicated in several disorders, including autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in which abnormal social functioning is a primary symptom. AVP and OT are strongly implicated in social behavior, and may also be involved in the pathophysiology of ASD. In my master’s work, we found that OT and AVP have complementary effects in the LA, where OT decreases excitability and AVP increases excitability, setting up what may be a very important balance in LA function.
While I very much enjoy neurophysiology, my current research interests also include the use of EEG as a physiological correlate to a range of behaviors. The use of EEGs in the neuroscience course I teach is central to my hands-on teaching approach. My ultimate goal as a teacher is not only to impart information, but also to help students become independent learners with the ability to carry course content with them outside of the classroom. I am lucky to teach such a new and fascinating subject, and I want my students to be as excited about neuroscience as I am.
PSY1000: Introduction to Psychology
PSY1100: Psychological Inquiry and Methodology
PSY3150: Behavioral Neuroscience
Keele, NB, Hughes, C, Blakeley, HJ, & Herman, DH. (2007). Regulation of neuronal excitability in the amygdala and disturbances in emotional behavior. Behavioral Aspects of Epilepsy, Demos Medical Publishing: New York.
Blakeley, HJ & Keele, NB. (2012). Functional roles of arg-vasopressin and oxytocin on cellular excitability in neurons of the rat lateral amygdala. In process.