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Postdoctoral Training - Neurobiology Northwestern University - 1989
Ph.D. - Neuroscience University of Virginia - 1988
M.A. - Experimental Psychology California State University, San Bernardino, California - 1983
B.A. - Psychology California State College - 1981
As a cellular- and systems-level neuroscientist, I strive to understand and improve the basic cellular mechanisms of learning and memory. I have concentrated my research efforts on regulation of post-synaptic excitability, more specifically, the necessary role of Ca2+-dependent K+ channels.
These K+ channels play a crucial role in memory-related plasticity across the lifespan. They interact strongly with NMDA (NR) excitatory glutamate receptors to regulate excitability in Hebbian models, and bridge important gaps in multiple forms of meta-plasticity critical for memory consolidation. Our work shows that plasticity of these K+ channels is highly conserved: across different species, different tasks, and across brain regions (i.e. they are a necessary convergence point in learning and in memory consolidation).
Our learning and memory research incorporates both chronic in vivo and acute in vitro neurophysiological recordings, coupled with molecular/neurochemical assays, as well as a wide range of behavioral approaches. Recent investigations have assessed the effects of channel-specific antagonists, of anti-oxidants, stress, and emotion, and have manipulated or assessed cellular mechanisms in experience- and aging-dependent neuropathologies including tinnitus and diabetes. Our data clearly demonstrate adaptive shifts in cognitive and neurobiological strategies for storing and accessing memories as the brain ages, yielding new potential nootropic targets for functional improvement (i.e. better memory).
Delayed onset of neuropathic pain in the aged after peripheral nerve injury. 2017 - Conference Paper
Editorial: Eyeblink Classical Conditioning in Psychiatric Conditions: Novel Uses for a Classic Paradigm 2017 - Journal Article
Eyeblink Conditioning in Psychiatric Conditions - State of the Field and Future Directions 2017 - Book
A High-Fat Diet Causes Impairment in Hippocampal Memory and Sex-Dependent Alterations in Peripheral Metabolism 2016 - Journal Article
Acute high-intensity noise induces rapid Arc protein expression but fails to rapidly change GAD expression in amygdala and hippocampus of rats: Effects of treatment with D-cycloserine 2016 - Journal Article
High-fat diet impairs spatial memory and hippocampal intrinsic excitability and sex-dependently alters circulating insulin and hippocampal insulin sensitivity 2016 - Journal Article
UT Dallas neuroscientists are examining whether multiple areas of the brain are culpable in causing tinnitus, research that could enable new medical interventions against the disabling effects of severe “ringing in the ears.” Dr. Tres Thompson, associate professor in UT Dallas’ School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, found that exposure to loud noises induces plasticity in the hippocampus, a section of the brain not primarily associated with hearing but known for learning-related plasticity. This neuroplasticity – changes in the function of the brain in reaction to experiences – could open the door to long-term tinnitus, he said. A three-year, $135,000 grant from the American Tinnitus Association supports this work in Thompson’s lab. The next stage of research will focus on drug treatments aimed at reducing or reversing plasticity. Thompson wants to test whether certain drugs targeting plasticity mechanisms might inhibit or change plasticity, protecting against tinnitus.
1998- Alzheimer's Association Medical & Scientific Advisory Council
1984- Society for Neuroscience
1992-1999 American Psychological Society
1981-1986 American Psychological Association
1981-1984 Biofeedback Society of America
Graduate Student Training
Ph.D.s Chaired at UTD: john C. Gant, Ph.D.,]uly 2003
Patricia Blau, Ph.D., October 2002
Tracy Greer, Ph.D., ]uly 2002
Huyen Bui, Ph.D., Nov 2006
At Northwestern, I co-supervised graduate work by the following graduate students, with whom I published work from their theses:
Matthew Oh, Ph.D., 2000
john Power, Ph.D., 1998
Michelle Kronforst, Ph.D., 1997
Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., 1995
james R. Moyer, jr., Ph.D., 1994
I am currently sponsoring (as advisor and Committee Chair) the following Ph.D. students in the Cognition & Neuroscience program of the School of Behavioral & Brain Sciences:
Completed literature review, 1st research project; committee forming:
Tim Goble, M.S.
Taban Seif, M.S.
Christi Kelly, M.S. [cosponsoring w. Robby Greene, M.D., VAMC, Dallas & Assistant Chair, Psychiatry Dept., UT Southwestern]
Completed 1st research project; literature review in progress:
Barbara Gibbons, M.S.
Penny Lea, M.S.
Working on 1st research project:
Gef Farmer, B.S.