Erik Joseph Garcia
Advisor: Dr. Mary Cain
Description of Research
After getting my feet wet in I/O, and cognitive psychology research, I had an opportunity to conduct research in Behavioral Neuroscience at Nebraska Wesleyan University under Dr. Frank Ferraro. This experience led to my curiosities in neuroscience: drug dependence, animal learning, and individual differences. Broadly, I am interested in understanding why some individuals become drug-dependent, while others use drugs recreationally, and do not develop dependence. Recently, ultrasonic vocalizations (USV) have been used as a dependent measure to understand brain chemistry in the mesolimbic dopamine path. The literature on USV suggests these calls are linked to affective state of the rodent and can be evoked my some drugs of abuse, because many drugs of abuse have their pharmacological effect in the mesolimbic pathway. Further, rodents can be bred to be high and low USV callers, suggesting there could be individual differences in calling between animals. My current research focuses on understanding these USVs as both a predictive and dependent measure in understanding acute and chronic stimulant (nicotine and amphetamine) exposure.
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.
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.
Teaching Experiences (GTA)
Research Design Psych 803- Spring 2013
Quantitative Methods Psych 802- Fall 2012
Drugs and Behavior Psych 202- Fall 2012 & 2013
Psychopharmacology Psych 570- Spring 2012
Colorado State University B.S.- Fall 2010
Timothy R Donaghue Graduate Scholarship, Kansas State University, 2011 & 2012
Vaughn Scholarship Undergraduate Scholarship, Nebraska Wesleyan University 2006, 2007 & 2010