Derick Lindquist, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychology
049 Psychology Building
1835 Neil Avenue
Areas of Expertise
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- PhD: Yale University
- Postdoctoral Training: Indiana University, University of Kansas
Current Research Description
Our research focus is on the neurobiology of learning and memory, particularly the long-term deleterious consequences of early-life alcohol exposure. Utilizing a rat model of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD; with ethanol administered over a third trimester-equivalent period of development) we have demonstrated specific deficits in higher-order cognition in adult rats using two forebrain-dependent Pavlovian conditioning tasks. The work to date suggests ethanol acutely disrupts NMDA receptor function and synaptogenesis, leading to persistent changes in NMDA receptor subunit composition and kinetics, impeding synaptic plasticity and the long-term consolidation of new memories.
We are also investigating how the amygdala modulates the acquisition, consolidation, and retrieval of simple motor learning (i.e., eyeblink classical conditioning). The goal is to link multiple response measures (freezing, ultrasonic vocalizations) to learning-dependent alterations in specific neural substrates (via lesions, pharmacology, immunoassays, and neurophysiology) across each stage of training and testing. We also aim to characterize how the cerebellum can, in turn, modulate amygdala-dependent emotional reactivity in the later stages of motor learning.