Christa McIntyre

Associate Professor - Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Tags: Cognition and Neuroscience

Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Psychobiology
University of Virginia - 2000
B.A. - Psychology
American University - 1994

Research Areas

Research Interests

Information acquired during daily encounters is not readily encoded into memory, but requires some effort or rehearsal to be preserved. In contrast, experiences that are either arousing or emotionally meaningful in content appear to be permanently stored into memory without conscious effort. My research is aimed at understanding the effect of emotional arousal on memory storage. Research findings to date indicate that events that are sufficiently arousing to be remembered for the long-term lead to activation of the amygdala. This amygdala activation may, in turn, initiate long-term memory storage by influencing synaptic strength in other areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus and cortex. I am currently using in vivo microdialysis, western blots, immunohistochemstry and in situ hybridization to better understand how emotion-induced amygdala activity may modulate the expression of synaptic proteins in areas that underlie memory storage.

This research is aimed at gaining information regarding the neuronal signals that determine whether a memory will be stored for the long term and may shed some light on the precise mechanisms involved in the synaptic changes that underlie memory. Such knowledge may ultimately be used to benefit individuals suffering from various memory disorders including Alzheimers disease and post traumatic stress disorder.


Holloway, C.M.; McReynolds, J.R. and McIntyre, C.K. Memory-enhancing intra-basolateral amygdala infusions of clenbuterol increase Arc and CaMKII-alpha protein expression in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, (2012) 6:17. 2012 - Publication
Holloway C.M., McIntyre C.K. (2011). Post-training disruption of Arc protein expression in the anterior cingulate cortex impairs long-term memory for inhibitory avoidance training. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 95(4):425-32. 2011 - Publication
McIntyre C.K., McGaugh J.L., Williams C.L. (2011). Interacting brain systems modulate memory consolidation. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 2011 - Publication
McReynolds, J.R., Donowho, K.M., Abdi, A., McGaugh, J.L., Roozendaal, B., and McIntyre, C.K. Glucocorticoids enhance long-term memory consolidation and local translation of Arc protein in the hippocampus. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, (2010) 93:312-21. 2010 - Publication
Roozendaal, B., McReynolds, J.R., Van der Zee, E., Lee, S., McGaugh, J.L., and McIntyre, C.K. Glucocorticoid-effects on memory consolidation depend on functional interactions between medial prefrontal cortex and basolateral amygdala. Journal of Neuroscience, (2009) 29:14299-308. 2009 - Publication
McIntyre, C.K., and Roozendaal, B. Glucocorticoid interaction with arousal-induced noradrenergic activity in influencing consolidation of emotional memories. In: F. Bermudez-Rattoni (Ed.), Neuroplasticity and Memory: From Genes to Brain Imaging, CRC Press (2007). 2007 - Publication
McIntyre, C.K., Miyashita, T., Setlow, B., Guzowski, J.G., Marjon, K.D., Steward, O., Guzowski, J.F. and McGaugh, J.L. Memory-influencing intra basolateral amygdala drug infusions modulate Arc expression in the hippocampus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA (2005) 102:10718-10723. 2005 - Publication
McIntyre, C.K., Marriott, L.K., and Gold, P.E. Cooperation between memory systems: Acetylcholine release in the amygdala correlates positively with performance on a hippocampusdependent task. Behavioral Neuroscience (2003) 117:320-326. 2003 - Publication
McIntyre, C.K., Power, A.E., Roozendaal, B. and McGaugh, J.L. Role of the basolateral amygdala in memory consolidation. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (2003) 985:273-293. 2003 - Publication
Power, A.E., McIntyre, C.K., Litmanovich, A., and McGaugh, J.L. Memory enhancement by cholinergic activation in the basolateral amygdala involves activation of both M1 and M2 receptors. Behavioral Pharmacology (2003) 14:207-213. 2003 - Publication


Assistant Professor
The University of Texas at Dallas [2006–Present]
Chapman University, Orange, CA [2005–2005]
Science Right: [2003–2006]
Postdoctoral Researcher
University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA [1999–2006]
Teaching Assistant
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA [1994–1998]
Graduate Researcher
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA [1994–1999]


Anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder
2008–2008 Microtransponder, Inc., Richardson, TX: (August, 2008).
Brain system interactions in the consolidation of memory
2005–2005 University of Texas at Dallas (fall, 2005)
Brain system interactions in the consolidation of memory
2004–2004 Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
Brain system interactions in the consolidation of memory
2006–2006 University of California, Santa Barbara, CA. (spring, 2006)
Does synaptic protein translation underlie memory consolidation?
2010–2010 Annual Neurobiology of Learning and Memory meeting, Park City, UT (January, 2010 - Invited)

Additional Information

Patent Submitted
Title: Systems, Methods and Devices for Paired Plasticity
Inventors: Michael Kilgard, Lawrence Cauller, Navzer Engineer, Christa McIntyre, and Will Rosellini

Title: Timing Control for Paired Plasticity
Inventors: Michael Kilgard, Lawrence Cauller, Navzer Engineer, Christa McIntyre, and Will Rosellini
Professional recognitions and honors (study, teaching, research, service)
  • Dissertation Fellowship (1998-1999), University of Virginia
  • Ralph W. Gerard Fellowship (1999-2000), Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, University of California, Irvine.
  • Roger Russell Award for scholarship and Collegiality (2002), Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, University of California, Irvine.
  • Award for Best Data Blitz Presentation (2005), Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, University of California, Irvine.
  • Postdoctoral Travel Award (2005), Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC.

Panelist and ad-hoc grant reviewer for: 

National Science Foundation, Panelist October, 2009

National Institute of Aging, Panelist July, 2010


Reviewed manuscripts for:

  1. Journal of Neuroscience
  2. European Journal of Neuroscience
  3. European Journal of Pharmacology
  4. Hippocampus
  5. Brain Research
  6. Behavioural Brain Research
  7. Neuroscience
  8. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
  9. Neuroscience Letters
  10. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
  11. Physiology and Behavior
  12. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Professional activities:

  • Co-organizer of annual winter conference on the neurobiology of learning and memory (2010)
  • Review editor for the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience

News Articles

Professor of Neuroscience Applauded By Peers, Students
Dr. Christa McIntyre-Rodriguez, an assistant professor of neuroscience, recently received the Aage Møller Teaching Award. "The award honors outstanding teaching, mentoring and supervision. Christa McIntyre-Rodriguez exemplifies these qualities,” said Dr. Bert Moore, dean of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and the Aage and Margareta Møller Distinguished Professor. “She is a gifted instructor and mentor known by her students and colleagues alike for her dedication to student training.” Faculty are nominated for the award by anonymous student evaluations and peer recommendations. Students in McIntyre-Rodriguez’s neuroscience laboratory methods class described her as a role model, particularly for female neuroscience students. “Dr. McIntyre-Rodriguez is simply awesome,” said one student. “I loved the debates and discussions, and her civil and encouraging reactions to whatever anyone said. We all felt appreciated.”
Study: Vagus Nerve Stimulation Shows Progress Against PTSD Symptoms
Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas are exploring how mild stimulation of the vagus nerve could help alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a complex condition that can cause debilitating anxiety and mental anguish. 

The vagus nerve controls the parasympathetic nervous system, which oversees a vast array of crucial bodily functions including digestion and slowing the heart rate. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is already used as a treatment for disorders including epilepsy and depression, and it has been shown to enhance memory retention. 
National Funding Will Support Research on Treatment for Anxiety
Two professors in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences  recently received national funding to study the mechanisms behind a proposed new treatment for anxiety disorders.

The National Institute of Mental Health grant will provide $423,000 over the next three years to Dr. Christa McIntyre-Rodriguez and Dr. Sven Kroener to fund their research.

“This grant will enable us to address unresolved questions,” said McIntyre-Rodriguez, principal investigator on the grant. “Previously, we found a method to enhance learning that a formerly dangerous situation is no longer dangerous.
Halloween Frights Can Have Scary Good Benefits, Neuroscientist Says
Halloween often is marked with scary movies, gory costumes and haunted houses. According to a UT Dallas researcher, such events provide an outlet for the release of pent-up fears while at the same time helping individuals feel stronger and sharper.
Dr. Christa McIntyre
, associate professor of neuroscience in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, said fear can help people stay away from danger, but its neurological effect can attract people, as well.
“Some people intentionally put themselves into situations where they will experience fear, such as haunted houses, horror movies and roller coasters,” McIntyre said.


Doctoral student mentor: 1. Jayme McReynolds Defended first year project, Spring 2008 Defended dissertation proposal, Fall 2008 Submitted NRSA, December, 2008 2. Crystal Holloway Defended first year project, Spring 2008 Pre-proposal accepted, Spring 2009 3. David Pena First year project accepted, Fall 2008 4. Kyle Donowho First year project proposal accepted, Spring 2009 Master's student mentor: 1. Rosemary Wright Graduated 2007 Medical school 2. Carrie Williamson Graduated 2008 3. Kyle Donowho Graduated 2008 Ph.D. program at UTD 4. Maria Carriera Graduated 2009 Ph.D. program at UTSW 5. Isabel Villalobos Presently engaged in research in my laboratory Undergraduate student mentor: Former: 1. Sonal Goswami Graduated 2007 Ph.D. program at Rutgers (Denise Pares lab) 2. Rodrigo Neely-Recuero 3. Patricia Granowski 4. Maria Carriera Joined Fast track program at UTD (2008) Gradated 2009 Ph.D. program at UT Southwestern 5. Kyle Donowho Master's degree at UTD (2007) Ph.D. program at UTD 6. Tara Jasti Graduated 2009 Master's program at UTD 7. Kelly Bruckmann Won undergraduate research award Graduated 2009 Researcher at UTSW Present: 1. Amy Wong 2. Ann Nguyen 3. Ashley Vanderburg 4. Christina Hovitz 5. Nhu-Mai 6. Ryan Louis 7. Shadi Lavasani 8. Sharon Wu 9. Stu McAfee 10. Tulja Parmer Member of Doctoral Committees: 1. Vikram Jakkamsetti 2. George Farmer 3. Ben Porter 4. Lu Dinh 5. Justin Nichols


A mechanism for long-term storage of emotional memories
$3,500.00 - School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Research Initiative (Fiscal [2009–2018]
Enhancing fear extinction using vagus nerve stimulation
$211,638 - NIH Small Business Innovation Research Award (RO1) [2009–2010]
Enhancing fear extinction using vagus nerve Stimulation
$21,593.00 - Microtransponder Inc. [2008–2009]
Amygdala Modulation of Multiple Neural Systems of Memory PI, Christa McIntyre USPHS
- USPHS NIH Mental Health National Research Service Award [2001–2003]