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Spencer, Robert L Professor

Positions

Research Areas research areas

Research

research overview

  • Dr. Spencer's research is concerned with understanding the neurobiology of stress and circadian control of brain function. His laboratory is dedicated to determining the molecular, cellular and systems level response of the central nervous system to psychological stressors, and how that response may adapt as a result of prior stressor exposure. In addition, his laboratory studies the controlling mechanisms of a primary neuroendocrine stress response system, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. A component of this research examines stress and circadian function interactions, especially in terms of their modulation of prefrontal cortex function. This basic research may have some relevance to understanding the underlying physiological changes that accompany clinical depression and other biomedical disorders that are associated with neuroendocrine dysfunction.

keywords

  • neurobiology of stress, stress response adaptation, glucocorticoid negative feedback control of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, circadian control of brain function, clock gene regulation, activity dependent gene expression

Publications

selected publications

Teaching

courses taught

  • NRSC 4011 - Senior Thesis
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2019
    Critically reviews topics in neuroscience research, scholarly analysis of a major neuroscience issue, and/or empirical research project. See the neuroscience director for further information.
  • NRSC 4092 - Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018 / Fall 2019
    Provides an introduction to neuroendocrinology with a focus on the interaction between hormones and brain function. Same as NRSC 5092.
  • NRSC 5092 - Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018 / Fall 2019
    Provides an introduction to neuroendocrinology with a focus on the interaction between hormones and brain function. In addition to attending and meeting all the requirements for the lecture portion of the course, graduate students meet for an additional hour each week to discuss in depth behavioral neuroendocrinology relevant research articles. Same as NRSC 4092.
  • NRSC 6100 - Advances in Neuroscience Seminar
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2019
    Designed for beginning graduate students interested in neuroscience. Students read, discuss, and evaluate the primary literature on a number of current topics in neuroscience as well as attend the seminar program in neuroscience. May be repeated up to 8 total credit hours.
  • PSYC 4011 - Senior Thesis
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2019
    Critically reviews some aspect of psychological literature, scholarly analysis of a major psychological issue, and/or empirical research project. See the psychology honors director for further information.

Background

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