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Cheryl Conrad

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Professor and Assistant Vice President of Research Development, OKED
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 7205
Asst Vice Pres & Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 7205
Asst Vice Pres & Professor
Administrative, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 7205
Biography

Cheryl Conrad is a professor of psychology and the ASU assistant vice president of research development. Her research interests include studies on the neurobiology of chronic stress, sex differences in neuroplasticity following chronic stress, and links between stress and depression or anxiety disorders.

The ultimate goal of her research program is to investigate the mechanisms by which stress influences brain plasticity and resilience. The stress response is key to organism survival: It is highly conserved across vertebrate species because it allows organisms to respond to environmental change. However, a stress response that persists or is repeatedly activated can have substantial negative consequences on brain plasticity and resilience. A reduction of brain plasticity is thought to contribute to many psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD) and Alzheimer’s disease. Consequently, studying conditions that attenuate or accentuate brain plasticity are essential to understanding the mechanisms of adaptation and many neurological disorders.

Education
  • Postdoctoral fellowships, The Rockefeller University, New York; Mentor: Bruce McEwen 1994-1997
  • Ph.D. Neuroscience, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 1994
  • B.S. Biology (honors), University of California-Irvine 1986
  • B.S. Chemistry, University of California-Irvine 1986
Research Interests

The ultimate goal of my research program is to investigate the mechanisms by which stress influences brain plasticity and resilience. The stress response is key to organism survival: It is highly conserved across vertebrate species because it allows organisms to respond to environmental change. However, a stress response that persists or is repeatedly activated can have substantial negative consequences on brain plasticity and resilience. A reduction of brain plasticity is thought to contribute to many psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD) and Alzheimer’s disease. Consequently, studying conditions that attenuate or accentuate brain plasticity are essential to understanding the mechanisms of adaptation and many neurological disorders.

In my laboratory’s research, we use a chronic stress model to investigate brain plasticity and resilience. When rats are chronically stressed, they express physiological and behavioral symptoms consistent with depression, including changes in body weight, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, sleep, motivation, anhedonia and cognition. Breakthroughs in mechanisms revealed with our chronic stress rat model will likely have applications in understanding and treating depression, as well as other psychological conditions.

Questions we are currently pursuing:

1) What are the mechanisms by which chronic stress alters neuronal morphology and function and what underlies the process to improve or recover when chronic stress ends?

2) What factors contribute to one’s susceptibility to chronic stress? How does gender influence the effects of chronic stress on brain morphology and function?

3) How does the emotional salience of a learning task influence cognitive function following chronic stress?

 

Publications

For the most up-to-date listing of published work, please use the following link:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/myncbi/cheryl.conrad.1/bibliography/48754457/public/?sort=date&direction=descending

Research Activity
  • Conrad,Cheryl Diane*. Stress and Estrogen Actions in the Female Hippocampus. ABRC(7/1/2009 - 6/30/2011).
  • Conrad,Cheryl Diane*. Stress and Estrogen Actions in the Female Hippocampus. ABRC(7/1/2008 - 6/30/2009).
  • Conrad,Cheryl Diane*. Influence of Chronic Stress and Gender on the Prefrontal Cortex. Inst. for Mental Health Res(3/1/2008 - 2/27/2009).
  • Conrad,Cheryl Diane*. SIGNIFICANCE OF STRESS-INDUCED HIPPOCAMPAL ATROPHY. HHS-NIH-NIMH(9/12/2002 - 4/30/2008).
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
VIP 194-PSYSpecial Topics
VIP 294-PSYSpecial Topics
PSY 399Supervised Research
BIO 492Honors Directed Study
MBB 493Honors Thesis
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
PSY 499Individualized Instruction
Summer 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
VIP 194-PSYSpecial Topics
VIP 294-PSYSpecial Topics
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
VIP 194-PSYSpecial Topics
VIP 294-PSYSpecial Topics
PSY 325Physiological Psychology
PSY 399Supervised Research
MBB 492Honors Directed Study
BIO 493Honors Thesis
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
PSY 499Individualized Instruction
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
VIP 194-PSYSpecial Topics
VIP 294-PSYSpecial Topics
PSY 399Supervised Research
BIO 492Honors Directed Study
MBB 493Honors Thesis
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
PSY 499Individualized Instruction
Summer 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
VIP 194-PSYSpecial Topics
VIP 294-PSYSpecial Topics
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
VIP 194-PSYSpecial Topics
VIP 294-PSYSpecial Topics
PSY 325Physiological Psychology
PSY 399Supervised Research
MBB 492Honors Directed Study
BIO 493Honors Thesis
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
PSY 499Individualized Instruction
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
VIP 194-PSYSpecial Topics
VIP 294-PSYSpecial Topics
PSY 399Supervised Research
BIO 492Honors Directed Study
MBB 493Honors Thesis
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
PSY 499Individualized Instruction
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
PSY 325Physiological Psychology
PSY 399Supervised Research
MBB 492Honors Directed Study
BIO 492Honors Directed Study
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
PSY 499Individualized Instruction
Fall 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
PSY 399Supervised Research
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
PSY 499Individualized Instruction
Spring 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
PSY 399Supervised Research
PSY 499Individualized Instruction
PSY 568Stress and the Brain
Fall 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
PSY 399Supervised Research
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
PSY 499Individualized Instruction
Spring 2014
Course NumberCourse Title
PSY 325Physiological Psychology
PSY 399Supervised Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
PSY 499Individualized Instruction
Presentations
  • Hoffman, A.N., Anouti, D.P. *§, Lacagnina, M.J.*, Krigbaum, A.*, Nikulina, E.M., Hammer, Jr., R.P., & Conrad, C.D. Functional activation of limbic structures after a single and second exposure to restraint stress. Society for Neuroscience (Nov 2011).
  • Mika, A.*, Mazur, G.J., Hoffman, A.N., Talboom, J.S., Bimonte-Nelson, H.A., Sanabria, F., & Conrad. C.D. Chronic stress impairs behavioral inhibition and spatial working memory, two distinct measures of medial prefrontal cortex function. Society for Neuroscience (Nov 2011).
  • Ortiz, J.B.§, Hanna, J.J.*, Baran, S.E.§, McLaughlin, K.J., Mika, A. *§, Anouti, D.P. *§, Hamilton, G.F.*, Campbell, A.N., & Conrad, C.D. Estrogen and cholesterol protect against corticosterone-induced hippocampal CA3 dendritic retraction in male and female gonadectomized rats. Society for Neuroscience (Nov 2011).
  • Mazur, G.J., Mika, A.*, Hoffman, A.N., Conrad, C.D., & Sanabria, F. Chronic stress impairs performance in a response-withholding task. Society for the Quantitative Analysis of Behavior (Oct 2011).
  • Hoffman*, A., Anoutiº, D., Hutchinson*, K., Krigbaumº, A., Ortizº, J. Mikaº, A., Hannaº, J.J., Bimonte-Nelson, H.A., & Conrad, C.D. Recovery of hippocampal CA3 dendritic retraction and correspondence to spatial learning and memory after chronic stress in mature adult male rats. Society for Neuroscience (Nov 2010).
  • Hutchinson*, K.M., McLaughlin*, K.J., Wright*, R.L., Anoutiº, D.P., Ortizº, J.B., Mikaº, A., Huynh, T.N., Hannaº, J.J., Diamond, D.M., & Conrad, C.D. Protective effects of environmental enrichment, initiated before and during chronic stress, on cognitive and morphological measures of hippocampal integrity. Society for Neuroscience (Nov 2010).
  • Huynh, T.N., Krigbaumº, A.M., Hannaº, J.J., Mikaº, A., Hoffman*, A.N., Ortizº, J.B., Conboyº, N.S., & Conrad, C.D. The effects of chronic stress, sex differences and light phase on anxiety and depressive-like behaviors. Society for Neuroscience (Nov 2010).
  • McLaughlin*, K.L., Sparksº, M., El-Ashmawyº, M., Huynh, T., Hannaº, J.J., & Conrad, C.D. Effects of cyclic 17b-estradiol injections on chronic stress-induced CA3 dendritic retraction and CA1 dendritic spines in ovariectomized female rats. Society for Neuroscience (Nov 2010).
  • Ortizº, J.B., Mikaº, A., Anoutiº, D., Coombs*, K.M., & Conrad, C.D. Environmental enrichment prevents stress-induced morphological changes in the CA3 region of the hippocampus. UCLA Psychology Undergraduate Symposium (May 14, 2010) (May 2010).
  • Mikaº, A., Ortizº, J.B., Coombs*, K.M., Anoutiº, D.P., Huynhº, T.N., & Conrad, C.D. Environmental enrichment presents stress-induced apical CA3 dendritic retraction in the hippocampus. ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Research Symposium (Apr 2010).
  • Anouti, D.P., Huynth, T.N., Nelson, C., Schilling, A., Dille, R., Armstrong, C., Hanna J.J., Dorathy, K., Hoffman, A.N., Coombs, K.M. & Conrad, C.D. The effects of chronic stress and sex differences on several measures of anxiety and depressive-like behaviors. ASU 17th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium (SOLUR) in 2010 (Mar 2010).
  • Mikaº, A., Ortizº, J.B., Coombs*, K.M., Anoutiº, D.P., Huynhº, T.N., & Conrad, C.D. Environmental enrichment presents stress-induced apical CA3 dendritic retraction in the hippocampus. ASU 17th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium (SOLUR) in 2010 (Mar 2010).
  • Miocevicº, M., Krigbaumº, A.M., Hutchinson*, K.M., Huynhº, T.N., Hoffman*, A.N., & Conrad, C.D. The process for quantifying neuronal dendritic complexity in the CA3 region of the rat brain hippocampus. ASU 17th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium (SOLUR) in 2010 (Mar 2010).
  • McLaughlin, K.J., Paine, T., ¶Hamilton, G., §Baran, S.E., Wright, R.L. & Conrad, C.D. Chronic stress facilitates spatial memory, which is prevented with cyclic 17ß-estradiol in ovariectomized female rats. Society for Neuroscience Abstract (Nov 2009).
  • Anouti, D., Huynh, T., Nelson, C., Schilling, A., Dille, R., Armstrong, C., Hanna, J.J., Dorathy, K., Hoffman, A.N., Coombs, K.M., & Conrad, C.D. The effects of chronic stress and sex differences on several measures of anxiety and depressive-like behaviors. Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) (Oct 2009).
  • Baran, S.E., Armstrong, C.E., Niren, D.C., Hanna, J.J., Hamilton, G., Wright, R.L., & Conrad, C.D. Sex differences and the role of the prefrontal cortex in fear conditioning and delayed recall of fear extinction. Society for Neuroscience Abstract (Oct 2009).
  • Coombs, K.M., Nelson, C., Schilling, A.N., Hoffman, A., Anouti, D., Dille, R., Armstrong, C., Hanna J.J., Bimonte-Nelson, H., and Conrad, C.D. Recovery of spatial working and reference memory after chronic stress in mature adult rats. Society for Neuroscience Abstract (Oct 2009).
  • Hoffman, A., Armstrong, C.E., Dille, R., Hanna, J.J., Nelson, C., Huynh, T., & Conrad, C.D. Chronic stress facilitates acquisition of fear conditioning in ovariectomized female rats, regardless of 17ß-estradiol treatment. Society for Neuroscience Abstract (Oct 2009).
  • Huynh, T., Nelson, C., Schilling, A., Dille, R., Armstrong, C., Hanna, J.J., Anouti, D., Dorathy, K., Hoffman, A.N., Coombs, K.M., & Conrad, C.D. The effects of chronic stress and sex differences on several measures of anxiety and depressive-like behaviors. Society for Neuroscience Abstract (Oct 2009).
  • Conrad, C.D. How chronic stress influences forebrain plasticity and function: Contribution of genetics, environment and signaling pathways. the Neuroscience Program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Sep 2009).
  • Conrad, C.D. The effects of chronic stress and sex differences on cognitive outcomes: An Update. the Institute for Mental Health Research (IMHR), Phoenix, AZ (May 2009).
Honors / Awards
  • Honors in Biology, University of California, Irvine 1986
  • Doolen Scholarship for the Study of Aging, University of Illinois, Urbana 1991
  • Outstanding Teacher, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 1991-1992 
  • Who’s Who in American Women 1997 
  • Nominated for Outstanding Faculty Mentor, an honor bestowed upon mentors across all disciplines at ASU 2002 
  • Nominated for the Last Lecture Series, an honor bestowed upon outstanding teachers across all disciplines at ASU 2003 
  • Received title of “Honors Disciplinary Faculty” for outstanding contributions to the honors students of ASU 2007 
  • Nominated Invitee, Faculty Women’s Association Leadership Project, Selected faculty are chosen to participate in leadership development at ASU 2007-2008 
  • Recognized as one of 15 outstanding professors/mentors by Alpha Kappa Psi, a Professional Business Fraternity for all majors at ASU 2007 
  • Nominated for the “2008 Dean’s Quality Teaching Award in honor of Zebulon Pearce, Natural Sciences” an honor for teachers within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at ASU
  • ASU Woman’s Softball team “Guest Coach,” awarded to faculty or staff who connect with student-athletes in the classroom or the campus community 2008 
  • Nominated, Professor of the Year, Sponsored by ASU Parent’s Association 2009
  • Nominated, Outstanding Graduate Mentor, an honor bestowed upon mentors across all disciplines at ASU 2009 
  • Honored Guest, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Convocation ceremony, for making a difference in an undergraduate student’s education, ASU 2009 
  • Outstanding Achievement and Contribution Award, for advancing the status and opportunities for women, sponsored by the Commission on the Status of Women at ASU 2012 
Editorships
  • Board Member of Section Editor, Neuroscience, Elsevier Publishers 2012-present
  • Review Editor, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 2008-2011 

 

Professional Associations
  • 1987-present Society for Neuroscience (SfN)
  • 1992-present American Psychological Society (APS)
  • 1998-present Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology (SBN)
  • 1999-present New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS)
  • 2007-present American Psychological Association (APA)
  • 2007-present Association for Women in Science (AWIS)
  • 2009-present Organization for the Study of Sex Differences (OSSD)
  • 2011-present Society for Neuroscience, Tempe Chapter
  • 2014-present International Behavioral Neuroscience Society (IBNS)