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Department of Psychological Sciences

Alisa Pajser

Taylor Wadian   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

Advisor: Dr. Charles L. Pickens 

CV 

Description of Research

Broadly speaking, I am interested in the neurobiology of learning and memory. Fear conditioning is an extremely well-established technique for studying just that. I use a procedure that, unlike most forms of fear conditioning, causes low fear-related behaviors initially that grow over time, a phenomenon termed ‘fear incubation.’ The pattern of behavior induced by fear incubation parallels that which is seen in cases of delayed-onset PTSD. Using this procedure, we are able to investigate what makes delayed-onset PTSD different from other anxiety disorders, as well as more general principles of learning and memory.

Currently, there is a c-Fos immunohistochemistry project comparing neuronal activation between traditional fear conditioning procedures (limited conditioned fear training) to fear incubation (extended conditioned fear training). We are specifically targeting the mPFC, BLA, and CeA. This project is the basis of my Master’s proposal.

Another project is investigating the mechanism that underlies the fear incubation phenomenon. We are exploring whether fear might be increasing due to generalization or spontaneous recovery.

Publications 

*denotes undergraduate researcher

Pajser et al., 2017, in preparation.

Fisher, H., Bright, N.*, Gallo, M.*, Pajser, A., & Pickens, C. L. (Under review). Relationship of low doses of alcohol voluntarily consumed during adolescence and early adulthood with subsequent behavioral flexibility.

Conference Presentations 

*denotes undergraduate researcher

Pajser, A. Gaeddert, B.*, Fisher, H., Long, C.*, Kallenberger, P.*, Limoges, A.*, & Pickens C. L. Infralimbic cortex is involved in encoding operant overtraining in the fear incubation task. Accepted for presentation at Society for Neuroscience Meeting 2017 (SFN), Washington, DC.

Gaeddert, B.*, Pajser, A., Fisher, H., Kallenberger, P.*, Limoges, A.*, Long, C.* & Pickens, C. L. Infralimbic cortex encodes operant overtraining, but not fear levels, in the fear incubation model. Poster presentation at Great Plains Students’ Psychology Convention 2017, Hays, KS.

Pajser, A., Crabtree, M.*, & Pickens, C. L. (2015, October). Anesthetic doses of ketamine improve reversal learning in a go/no-go task in rats. Poster presentation at Society for Neuroscience Meeting 2016 (SFN), San Diego, CA.

Pajser, A., Fisher, H., Gallo, M.*, Greer, M.*, Kallenberger, P.*, Limoges, A.*, Long, C.*, & Pickens, C. L. (2015, October). Individual differences in voluntary alcohol consumption predict fear incubation in rats. Poster presentation at Society for Neuroscience Meeting 2015 (SFN), Chicago, IL.

Fisher, H., Pajser, A., & Pickens, C. L. (2015, October). Individual differences in voluntary alcohol consumption predict operant extinction but not devaluation in rats. Poster presentation at Society for Neuroscience Meeting 2015 (SFN), Chicago, IL.

Gallo, M.*, Bright, N.*, Fisher, H., Greer, M.*, Pajser, A., Ray, M.*, Wang, M.*, & Pickens, C. L. (2015, October). Individual differences in voluntary alcohol consumption predict reversal learning performance in rats. Poster presentation at Society for Neuroscience Meeting 2015 (SFN), Chicago, IL.

Kallenberger, P.*, Bright, N.*, Fisher, H.*, Greer, M.*, Limoges, A.*, Pajser, A., & Pickens, C. L. (2015, October). Alcohol consumption in adolescence and early adulthood causes more rapid omission contingency learning in rats. Poster presentation at Society for Neuroscience Meeting 2015 (SFN), Chicago, IL.

Klipec, W. D., Pajser, A.*, Gray, T.*, Lewis, R.*, Troske, M.*, & Share, R.* (2015, October). Cocaine induced increases in impulsivity in rats are eliminated by the deletion of the trpc4 gene. Poster presentation at Society for Neuroscience Meeting 2015 (SFN), Chicago, IL.

Pajser, A., Fisher, H., Gallo, M.*, Limoges, A.*, Long, C.*, Richards, A.*, Wang, M.*, & Pickens, C. L. (2015, April). Individual differences in voluntary alcohol consumption predict fear incubation responses in rats. Poster presentation at Research Society on Alcoholism Convention 2015 (RSA), San Antonio, TX.

Pajser, A., Fisher, H., Gallo, M.*, Limoges, A.*, Long, C.*, Richards, A.*, Wang, M.*, & Pickens, C. L. (2015, April). Individual differences in voluntary alcohol consumption predict fear incubation responses in rats. Poster presentation at Southwestern Psychological Association Convention 2015 (SWPA), Wichita, KS.

Gallo, M.*, Bright, N.*, Fisher, H., Pajser, A., Ray, M.*, Wang, M.*, & Pickens, C. L. (2015, April). Individual differences in voluntary alcohol consumption predict reversal learning performance in rats. Poster presentation at Southwestern Psychological Association Convention 2015 (SWPA), Wichita, KS.

Teaching Experience 

Graduate Teaching Assistant – Kansas State University

Principles of learning, Fall 2014

General Psychology, Spring 2015

Abnormal Psychology, Fall 2015

Forensic Psychology, Spring 2016

Psychobiology, Spring 2016

Psychobiology, Fall 2017

Psychobiology, Spring 2017

Drugs and Behavior, Spring 2017

Teaching related coursework – Kansas State University

Principles of College Teaching, Fall 2015

Teaching Apprenticeship, enrolled for Spring 2018

Education 

B.S., 2014, at Drake University, Des Moines, IA

Contact Information 

Office: BH 548

E-mail: alisapajser@ksu.edu