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About Laura Elena O'Dell

My long-term career goal is to establish a strong research program that involves mentoring students who are interested in pursuing a career in Neuroscience. My research interests lie in the application of scientific principles to the study of how the brain controls behavior. During my training, I have dedicated myself to learning research skills that I can apply to my research program investigating the neural mechanisms of drug addiction. More specifically, I have studied the brain mechanisms that mediate the reinforcing and toxic effects of abused substances, such as nicotine, alcohol, heroin, and cocaine. Throughout my career, I have combined various behavioral and biochemical tools to study drug abuse. These include place conditioning, self-administration, locomotor behavior, anxiety-like behavior, and intracranial brain self-stimulation. I have also applied techniques such as in vivo microdialysis, receptor binding, second messenger assays, quantitative PCR, and Western blot analysis. As part of my career goals, I hope to continue to learn new biochemical skills that I can apply to my research using state-of-the-art research skills. Part of my goal is to also maintain an independently funded research program. In 2005, I was awarded with a 5-year (R01 grant) examining developmental differences to the rewarding and aversive effects of nicotine. This award was recently extended for 5 additional years via a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Another very important goal is to mentor students. My desire to mentor a diverse population of students is reflected in my work at UTEP, which is a minority serving institution with 85% Hispanic students. I have enjoyed working with students, and I hope to continue to build my research program on the basis of strong student-mentor relationships.

Positions

Present Professor, University of Texas at El Paso
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Curriculum Vitae




Contact Information

The University of Texas at El Paso
Department of Psychology
500 West University
El Paso, TX 79968


Review papers (11)

Alcohol papers (9)

Nicotine papers (17)