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Department of Psychological Sciences

Kimberly Kirkpatrick

KK

Contact Information

Office: BH 496

Phone: 532-0805

E-mail: kirkpatr@ksu.edu

Director, Reward, Timing, & Decision Lab

Director, Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Approaches to Plasticity (CNAP)

Research Interests

I received my Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Iowa in 1995 under the supervision of Professor Edward A. Wasserman. My dissertation examined the role of spatial and feature-based information in pigeon visual perception. I then moved to Brown University in 1996, where I worked as a Post-doctoral fellow with Professor Russell M. Church examining the role of timing processes in classical conditioning paradigms. My research was funded in part by an NRSA from the NIH during this time. After leaving Brown in 2000, I established the York Timing Laboratory at the University of York, UK, where I spend 8 years as a faculty member. I moved from York to Kansas State in 2008 where I established the Reward, Timing and Decision (RTD) laboratory.

The main line of research in my laboratory is the role of timing processes in determining impulsive choices in rats. We have developed robust time-based interventions that target timng processes and promote self-control in rats. The interventions appear to operate by promoting executive processes. In 2010, I received an R01 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to investigate targeted therapeutic interventions to treat impulsivity in our rat model. This grant was recently renewed until 2026. For the renewal we are working on examining the neural circuitry that underlies the intervention effects on impulsive choice using state-of-the-art neuroscience techniques including ultra-high field magnetic resonance imaging and chemogenetics. We have also been working on translating the rodent interventions to humans, with some degree of success. For this work, we are collaborating with NXTech, Inc, a behavioral engineering start-up company who are assisting with developing a digital therapy platform to promote self-control. The digitial therapy platform development is supported by a recently-funded Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Our other main line of current research involves diet-induced impulsive choices. We developed a novel diet-induced impulsive pre-clinical model in which impulsive choices are increased by chronic exposure to diets high in processed saturated fat and/or sugar. We have found that the diets impair timing processes and other cognitive processes that may be important for feeding regulation. We are currently examining neuroinflammation as a possible candidate for the diet-induced impulsive choices. We have also been studying similar processes in humans.  

In addition to directing the RTD lab, in 2017, I moved into the position of directing the Cognitive and Neurobiological Approaches to Plasticity center, which was funded by a $10.6M grant from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences. For more details on the center activities see: www.ksu.edu/cnap.

Student Involvement

Undergraduate and graduate students working in my laboratory are involved in all aspects of the research process. Depending upon the students’ interest, they can learn neurobiological techniques such as injections, histology, and stereotaxic surgery in addition to obtaining a strong grounding in behavioral analysis. Students will learn how to design projects, analyze data, write computer programs, and may have opportunities to contribute to the publication of the results. Students are encouraged to attend scientific meetings to present their research. Graduate students may be funded on research assistantships with federal grants when money is available or through departmental graduate teaching assistantships. I can be contacted by e-mail (kirkpatr@ksu.edu) by students who are interested in conducting research in my laboratory.

Current Graduate Students

Kelsey Panfil

Robert Southern

Sarah Stuebing

Current Research Staff

Dr. Travis Smith (Research Assistant Professor)

Grant Funding (last 3 years)

  • National Institutes of Mental Health, R01 Project Grant, Timing, reward processing, and choice, $1.86M, 2021-2026, Role: PI
  • National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Administrative Supplement for P20 COBRE award, Cognitive and neurobiological approaches to plasticity (C-NAP) center, $118K, 2021-2022, Role: PI/PD
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse, R43 SBIR grant, BoostOne, $246K ($30K sub-award), 2021-2022, Role: Co-Investigator
  • Psi Chi, Graduate Research Grant, Effects of time-based intervention training on neural activity, $1.5K, 2021-2022, Role: Mentor
  • Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, Undergraduate Research Grant, Identifying brain structures active during a time-based intervention, $1K, 2021, Role: Mentor
  • National Institutes of Health, K-INBRE Core Facility Grant, Advancing cellular neuroscience in the Kansas State University COBRE center, $10K, 2020-2021, Role: PI
  • Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, Graduate Research Grant, The impact of estradiol on impulsive decision-making and timing, $1K, 2020, Role: Mentor
  • National Institute of General Medical Sciences, P20 COBRE center grant, Cognitive and neurobiological approaches to plasticity (C-NAP) center, $10.6M, 2017-2022, Role: PI/PD
  • National Institute of Mental Health, R01 Project Grant, Timing, reward processing, and choice, $1.35M, 2016-2020, Role: PI
  • National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship, Catherine Hill, $132K, 2016-2019, Role: Sponsor

Recent Publications (*indicates student co-author)

  • Bailey, C., *Panfil, K., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2021). Hazard function effects on promoting self-control in variable interval time-based interventions in rats. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 116, 279-299.

  • *Voss, N., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2021). An assessment tool for evaluating the National Institute of General Medical Sciences COBRE and INBRE mentoring programs. Advances in Physiology Education, 45, 626-633.

  • *Steele, C., *Steele, T. J., *Gwinner, M., Rosenkranz, S. K., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2021). The relationship between dietary fat intake, impulsive choice, and metabolic health. Appetite, 165, 105292.
  • Wilkinson, A., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2020). Tracking of unpredictable moving stimuli by pigeons. Learning & Behavior, 48, 27-40.
  • *Panfil, K., Bailey, C., *Davis, I., *Mains, A., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2020). A time-based intervention to treat impulsivity in male and female rats. Behavioural Brain Research, 379, 112316.
  • *Steele, C. C., *Gwinner, M., Smith, T., Young, M., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). Experience matters: The effects of hypothetical versus experiential delays and magnitudes on impulsive choice in delay discounting tasks. Brain Sciences, 379, 1-16.
  • Smith, T., *Panfil, K., Bailey, C., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). Cognitive and behavioral training interventions to promote self-control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 45, 259-279. DOI: 10.1037/xan0000208. PMCID: 671382.
  • *Steele, C. C., *Pirkle, J. R. A., *Davis, I. R., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). Dietary effects on the determinants of food choice: Impulsive choice, discrimination, incentive motivation, preference, and liking. Appetite, 136, 160-172.

Recent Conference Presentations (*indicates student co-author)

  • *Rumback, K., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2021). The effects of a high-fat diet on impulsivity. Kansas Honor’s Connection Conference, Emporia, KS.
  • Smith, T., *Steele., C. C., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2021). Parallel procedures of impulsive choice: Effects of a high-fat diet in humans and rats. Association for Behavioral Analysis International, Virtual Conference.
  • *Panfil, K., *Haas, C., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2021). Fixed-interval intervention dose-response effects on impulsive choices. Society for the Quantitative Analyses of Behavior, Virtual Conference.
  • *Fitch, A. Smith, T., Deavours, A., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2021). Attention to delay: The effects of fixed-interval and fixed-time interventions on impulsive choice and timing. Society for the Quantitative Analyses of Behavior, Virtual Conference.
  • *Rumback, K., *Fitch, A., Deavours, A., Smith, T., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2020). The consequences of a high-fat diet on impulsive decision-making, International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, Virtual Conference.
  • *Fitch, A., *Rumback, K., Smith, T., and Kirkpatrick K. (2020). The effects of time-based interventions on self-control and choice latency in an impulsive choice task, International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, Virtual Conference.
  • *Favreau, L., *Haas, C., *Panfil, K., Smith, T., Deavours, A., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2020). Chemogenetic manipulation of pre-limbic cortex increases impulsive choices following time-based intervention training in rats. International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, Virtual Conference.
  • *Steele, C. C., *Gwinner, M., *Steele, T. J., *Duran, J. K., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). Diet, body fat, and fasting glucose as predictors of impulsive choice for food in rats and humans. Obesity Week, Las Vegas, NV.
  • *Rumback, K., *Fitch, A., Deavours, A., Smith, T., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). The unexpected populations: The effects of impulsivity and food valuation on food choice. Kansas Honor’s Connection Conference, Emporia, KS.
  • *Panfil, K., *Small, R., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). Effects of methylphenidate on impulsive choice and timing processes in Lewis rats. Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL.
  • *Steele, C., *Gwinner, M., Smith, T., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). Parsing the role of experiencing rewards and delays in a novel impulsive choice task for food. Mid-American Association for Behavioral Analysis, Omaha, NE.
  • *Rumback, K., *Fitch, A., Deavours, A., Smith, T., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). The unexpected populations: The effects of impulsivity and food valuation on food choice. Mid-American Association for Behavioral Analysis, Omaha, NE.
  • *Lonker, T., Bailey, C., *Cunningham, E., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). Effects of varying delay distributions in time-based interventions to improve self-control. Mid-American Association for Behavioral Analysis, Omaha, NE.
  • *Fitch, A., *Rumback, K., Smith, T., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). The effects of smaller-sooner delays on the efficacy of impulsive choice interventions and choice reaction times. Mid-American Association for Behavioral Analysis, Omaha, NE.
  • *Cunningham, E., *Deavours, A., *Panfil, K., Bailey, C., *Small, R., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). The influence of estrous cycle on the impulsive choice behavior of female rats. Mid-American Association for Behavioral Analysis, Omaha, NE.
  • *Panfil, K. & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). Comparing analysis methodologies: R tutorial for nonlinear repeated measures analyses. Society for the Quantitative Analyses of Behavior, Chicago, IL.
  • Smith, T. R., *Fitch, A., *Rumback, K., and Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). The effects of the ratio of smaller-sooner and larger-later delays in an impulsive choice task. Society for the Quantitative Analyses of Behavior, Chicago, IL.
  • Bailey, C. *Cunningham-Younger, E., *Lonker, T., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). Time-based interventions to promote self-control: Effects of the hazard function of variable-interval schedules. Society for the Quantitative Analyses of Behavior, Chicago, IL.
  • Smith, T. R., Bailey, C., *Panfil, K., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). Time-based interventions on fixed- and adjusting-delay procedures in rats. Four Corners Association for Behavior Analysis, Santa Fe, NM.

Recent Invited Talks (*indicates student co-author)

  • Kirkpatrick, K. (2021). Junior investigator development in the era of COVID-19. Invited talk at the Merrill Center for Advanced Studies Annual Retreat, Nebraska City, NE.
  • Smith, T., Steele, C., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2021). Parallel procedures of impulsive choice: Effects of a high-fat diet in humans and rats. Invited symposium contribution at the Association for Behavior Analysis International meeting, Virtual Conference.
  • Kirkpatrick, K. (2021). Adventures in translational research. Invited talk for the Anatomy and Physiology Seminar Series, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.
  • Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). Top-down control of impulsive choices using time-based interventions in rats. Invited talk at the Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.
  • Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). The neurobiology of timing and impulsivity. Invited talk for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics Seminar Series, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.
  • Kirkpatrick, K., & Steele, C. C. (2019) High-fat diets increase impulsive choices. Invited symposium contribution at the American Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.
  • Kirkpatrick, K. (2019) Evaluation practices for COBRE projects and mentoring programs. Invited talk at the IDeA Central Region Conference, Oklahoma City, OK.
  • Kirkpatrick, K. (2019) Neuroscience of timing and decision making. Invited talk at the IDeA Central Region Conference, Oklahoma City, OK.
  • Kirkpatrick, K. & Steele, C. C. (2019). Adventures in translational research. Invited address at the Four Corners Association for Behavior Analysis, Santa Fe, NM.
  • Kirkpatrick, K. (2019). Factors that alter impulsive choices. Invited colloquium at the Academic Scholarship Conference, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS.

Additional information and publications