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Department of Psychological Sciences

Erik GarciaErik Joseph Garcia

Advisor: Dr. Mary Cain

Contact Information

Email: ejgarcia@ksu.edu

Phone: 720-233-3099

Education

Kansas State University, M.S. – Fall 2014
     Experimental Psychology: Behavioral Neuroscience

Colorado State University B.S. – Fall 2010
     Psychology

Description of Research

Many people experiment with drugs, but only a fraction of users become compulsive drug takers. I am interested in understanding individual difference traits and environmental factors that contribute to compulsive drug taking. Novelty and sensation seeking are traits identified in both humans and rodents that contribute to the transition to compulsive drug taking.  

Our lab uses a variety of behavioral and molecular techniques to study how these variables contribute to compulsive drug taking. Specifically, we use rodent models of novelty, self-administration, locomotor assessment, and western blot protein analyses. My dissertation is examining the effects of the differential rearing environment on drug craving, reinstatement, and over-learningSpecifically, it will examine several metabotropic and ionotropic glutamate receptors and their contribution to long term potentiation and long term depression after amphetamine self-administration. 

Publications

Denotes McNair Scholar 

Garcia, E. J. & Cain, M. E. (2015). Novelty response and 50 kHz ultrasonic vocalizations: Differential prediction of locomotor and affective response to amphetamine in Sprague-Dawley rats. Psychopharmacologydoi: 10.1007s00213-015-4132-6 

Garcia, E. J., ^McCowan, T. J., & Cain, M. E. (2015). Harmonic and frequency modulated ultrasonic vocalizations reveal differences in conditioned and unconditioned reward processing. Behavioural Brain Research, 287, 207-214. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2015.03.049

 Presentations

*Denotes Undergraduate Researcher 

##Garcia, E. J., *Jorgensen, E., *Sprick, L., & Cain, M. E. (2016). The effects of novelty choice on preference for ethanol oral self-administration. Talk presented at Behavior, Biology, and Chemistry conference at the University of Texas Health Center San Antonio. San Antonio, Texas. March, 2016 

*Sprick, L., Garcia, E. J., *Jorgensen, E., & Cain, M. E. (2016). The role of novelty response and adolescent ethanol exposure on oral ethanol self-administration in Long Evans rats. Poster presented at Behavior, Biology, and Chemistry conference at the University of Texas Health Center San Antonio. San Antonio, Texas. March, 2016 

*Jorgensen, E., Garcia, E. J., *Sprick, L., & Cain, M. E. (2016). Adolescent voluntary ethanol drinking changes 50 kHz ultrasonic vocalizations but not novelty and sensation seeking response. Poster presented at Behavior, Biology, and Chemistry conference at the University of Texas Health Center San Antonio. San Antonio, Texas. March, 2016 

*Jorgensen, E., Garcia, E. J., & Cain, M. E. (2015). Individual differences in ethanol consumption: An examination of novelty and sensation seeking and ultrasonic vocalizations. Poster presented at 45th Annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience Faculty for Undergraduate Research Poster Session. Chicago, Illinois. October, 2015 

Garcia, E. J., Arndt, D., *Erickson, G., *Komer, L., *Sprick, L., *Jorgensen, E., *Parks, K., *Peterson, C., & Cain, M. E. (2015). β-lactam antibiotic affects amphetamine-induced reinstatement in differentially reared rats: Evidence for glutamate homeostasis. Poster presented at 45th Annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Chicago, Illinois. October, 2015 

Garcia, E. J., Arndt, D., *Erickson, G., *Komer, L., *Sprick, L., *Jorgensen, E., *Parks, K., *Peterson, C., & Cain, M. E. (2015). β-lactam antibiotic affects amphetamine-induced reinstatement in differentially reared rats: Evidence for glutamate homeostasis. Poster presented at 45th Annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience Trainee Professional Development Poster Session. Chicago, Illinois. October, 2015 

Arndt, D., Garcia, E. J., *Erickson, G., *Ulmer, M., & Cain, M. E. (2015). Differential rearing alters amphetamine self-administration: Role of mGluR2/3 activation. Poster presented at 45th Annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Chicago, Illinois. October, 2015 

Cain, M. E., Arndt, D. L., & Garcia, E. J. (2015). The role of metabotropic glutamate receptors during amphetamine self-administration in differentially reared rats. Poster presented at Biennial European Behavioral Pharmacology Society. Verona, Italy. September, 2015 

## Garcia, E. J., & Cain, M. E. (2015). 50kHz Frequency modulated vocalizations reveal differences in subjective drug value. Talk presented at NEURAL Conference. University of Alabama at Birmingham. June 2015 

Garcia, E. J., & Cain, M. E. (2015). Ultrasonic vocalizations reveal differences in reward processing between low and high novelty responders. Poster presented at National Institute on Drug Abuse Diversity Supplement Workshop. Bethesda, Maryland. April, 2015 

## Garcia, E. J., & Cain, M. E. (2015). Repeated amphetamine administration is more rewarding in low-novelty seeking rats. Talk presented at Southwestern Psychological Association Annual Meeting, Southwestern Comparative and Behavioral Neuroscience Association, Wichita, Kansas. April, 2015 

*Ulmer, M., Arndt, D., *Erickson, G., Garcia, E. J., Cain, M. E. (2015). Glutamatergic deactivation decreases amphetamine self-administration: role of differential rearing. Poster presented at Southwestern Psychological Association Annual Meeting, Wichita, Kansas. April, 2015 

*Erickson, G., Arndt, D., *Ulmer, M., Garcia, E. J., Cain, M. E. (2015). Enrichment and glutamate homeostasis: The role of environmental condition on addiction. Poster presented at Southwestern Psychological Association Annual Meeting, Wichita, Kansas. April, 2015 

Arndt, D., *Dietz, Z., *Johns, K., Garcia, EJ., Cain, M. E. (2014). The role of differential rearing and mGluR5 inactivation on amphetamine self-administration in male rats. Poster presented at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. November, 2014 

Garcia, E. J., ^McCowan, T. J., *Johns, K. C., & Cain, M. E. (2014). Response to novel environment predicts amphetamine-induced 50 kHz ultrasonic vocalizations after withdrawal from a low and high dose of amphetamine. Poster presented to be presented at the 44th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. Washington, D.C. November, 2014 

Garcia, E. J., ^McCowan, T. J., *Johns, K. C., & Cain, M. E. (2014). Response to novel environment predicts amphetamine-induced 50 kHz ultrasonic vocalizations after withdrawal from a low and high dose of amphetamine. Poster presented to be presented at the 44th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience Diversity Poster Session. Washington, D.C. November, 2014 

*Dietz, Z., *Johns, K., Garcia, E. J. & Cain, M.E. (2014). Understanding the Relationship of Different Novelty Assessments in Sprague Dawley Rats. Poster presented at the Annual Kansas State Research Forum. Manhattan, Kansas. March 2014. 

Garcia, E. J., ^McCowan, T. J., & Cain, M. E. (2013). A moderate dose of amphetamine fails to evoke 50 kHz ultrasonic vocalization but induces psychomotor hyperactivity. Poster presented at the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. San Diego, CA. November 2013. 

Garcia, E. J., ^McCowan, T. J., & Cain, M. E. (2013). The relationship between the response to novelty and 50 kHz ultrasonic vocalizations in response to amphetamine. Poster presented at the 61st annual Nebraska Symposium on Motivation. Lincoln, Nebraska. April 2013. 

Garcia, E. J., *Blaesing, S., & Palmatier, M. I. (2012). The effects of acute and chronic nicotine on locomotor activity and ultrasonic vocalizations. Poster presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. New Orleans, LA. October 2012. 

*Jones, S. A., Garcia, E. J., *Jones, B. L., & Palmatier, M. I. Continuous intravenous caffeine infusions dose-dependently increased the motivation to obtain alcohol in rats. Poster presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. New Orleans, LA. October 2012.  

Scholarships, Honors, & Awards

Department of Psychological Sciences Outstanding Graduate Research Award  February 2016 

-Kansas State University 

-Recognition for outstanding research 

Kansas State University Small Research Grant    February 2016 

-Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences 

-Award $500 

College of Arts and Sciences Travel Award  February 2016 

-Kansas State University 

-$800 

National Institute on Drug Abuse Travel Award    October 2015 

-Society for Neuroscience Chicago, IL 

-Travel Award $1,000 

Society for Neuroscience Trainee Professional Development Award    October 2015 

-Society for Neuroscience Chicago, IL 

-Travel Award $1,000 

National Enhancement of Underrepresented Academic Leaders   Summer 2015 

-Neural Conference 

-Travel Award $600 

Graduate Association for Psychology Students          Spring 2015 

-Graduate Mentor of the Year 

Med Associates Scholarship          Fall 2014 

- Society for Neuroscience Short Course on MedPC 

-Award $200 

National Institute of Health; National Institute on Drug Abuse                 August 2014 – April 2016 

-Promoting Diversity in Health Field 

-Award $73K 

Timothy R. Donoghue Scholarship              August 2011- May 2014 

-Kansas State University Graduate Scholarship 

- Award $5,000 per year 

Pflieger-Olson Great Plains Athletic Conference Scholar Athlete                   Fall 2010 

- Nebraska Wesleyan University Football 

Organizational Science Stipend    Summer 2009 

 -University of North Carolina at Charlotte 

-Award $500  

Teaching Experiences (Primary Instructor)           

Brain and Behavior Psych 370- Spring 2016 

General Psychology Psych 110 - Spring 2014 

Research Methods Lab Psych 350 - Spring 2014 & Fall 2013 

Teaching Experiences (GTA)

**Denotes graduate course**

**Research Design Psych 803 Spring 2013** 

**Quantitative Methods Psych 802 Fall 2012** 

Drugs and Behavior Psych 202 - Fall 2012 & 2011 

Psychopharmacology Psych 570 – Spring 2012 

General Psychology Psych 110 – Spring 2012 

Social Psychology Psych 535 – Fall 2011  

Mentoring Experience (undergraduate)  

Emily Jorgensen (January 2015-May 2016) 
 Awards 

-Department of Psychological Sciences Shanteau Winner 

-Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry Summer Research Award 

-College of Arts and Sciences Summer Research Award 

-College of Arts and Sciences Travel Award  

Luke Sprick (January 2015-May 2016)
Awards 

-Department of Psychological Sciences Shanteau Winner  

Talus McCowan (January 2013-August 2013) 
Awards 

-Undergraduate McNair Scholar  

Guest Lecturer

Drugs and Behavior Psych 202 – Fall 2013
     Pharmacology of medical marijuana