HomeCU DenverCollege of Liberal Arts & ScienceDepartment of Integrative Biology

Faculty Research Mentors

Dr. Grigsby’s work is on human cognitive neuroscience/neuropsychology, with an emphasis on understanding executive cognitive functioning (the capacity for behavioral and attentional self-regulation). Among other things, he studie neuropsychological and neuroradiological phenotypes associated with different mutations of the fragile X gene (FMR1), the effects of breast cancer chemotherapy on mood and cognition, and the mediation of various health outcomes among older people by cognitive status.

 

Dr. Masters’ research is primarily concerned with psychological and behavioral factors as they impact cardiovascular health and disease. Specifically, he has focused on the role of spirituality on cardiovascular processes and he is interested in how meaning and purpose may influence health behavior change. He retains interest in exercise as a health behavior and is currently involved in developing research in collaboration with the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.

 

Dr. Borrayo’s research focuses on health disparities in the prevention, control, and treatment of cancer among ethnic minorities, women, and older adults. Her research projects have focused on the psychological, cultural, and social factors involved in breast and cervical cancer prevention and in the treatment of breast, lung and head-and-neck cancers among Latinas and Latinos affected by these cancers. She conducts research in both community and medical settings.

 

Dr. Kilbourn’s research interests fall under the umbrella of psychosocial oncology, cancer survivorship and palliative care.  Her research focuses on 1) conducting clinical research that examines relevant psychosocial, behavioral and biological outcomes and, 2) designing psychosocial and lifestyle interventions aimed at improving quality of life in cancer survivors and their caregivers. She also has a strong interest in health disparities Her research is multidisciplinary and her research colleagues come from diverse disciplines such as cancer epidemiology, medical oncology, nursing, psychiatry, internal medicine, pediatric oncology, biological psychology and biostatistics.

 

Dr. Ranby’s research interests involve understanding the many ways that close relationship partners affect each other’s health behaviors. She has experience studying exercise and smoking in particular. Students working in her lab year this year would have the opportunity to be involved studying new couples and how partners influence daily health-related habits.

 

Dr. Bland’s research interests include the neurobiology of stress and addiction as well as animal models of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Her current studies focus on investigations of gender differences and the effects of social cues and social history on the rewarding and neurochemical effects of drugs of abuse. Techniques include conditioned place preference, in vivo microdialysis with HPLC, and immunohistochemistry.

 

Dr. Beth Allen’s laboratory investigates a range of issues related to couple functioning, including processes related to relationship health and dysfunction, relationship interventions, extradyadic involvements, military marriages, and the bidirectional influences of relationship factors and health. Her current work is primarily focused on an online study of military couples, exploring relationship and psychological health post deployment.

 

Dr. Oleson’s research generally focuses on the role of subsecond dopamine release in motivated behavior within the context of drug addiction. The laboratory also studies the use of cannabinoids to treat diseases that alter the mesolimbic dopamine system. They measure real-time dopamine release during behavior using a technique called fast-scan cyclic voltammetry and control dopamine neural activity using a technique called optogenetics.

 

Dr. Kaplan’s research focus is on learning and cognitive development in infants of depressed mothers, with special emphasis on the role of infant-directed speech (IDS) in promoting (or in the case of depressed mothers, not promoting) infant learning. In addition, we are planning research looking at event-related potentials in response to IDS, and Kevin Everhart has a strong interest in collecting data on genotyping parents and infants for oxytocin receptor type. Other work involves factor analyses of maternal self-report measures of depression and how the identified factors predict infant outcome.

 

Dr. Richard Allen’s research uses an animal (rat) model of drug-taking behavior called the drug self-administration procedure, which can be used to reveal escalations of cocaine intake over time. This model provides a valuable preclinical tool for assessing the neurobiological changes that take place during this transition. Research in his laboratory seeks to describe the pharmacological, neurobiological, and behavioral mechanisms that contribute to the drug addiction.

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