What kinds of projects have our SMP students done?

Katie Grein '13 presents her SMP

Check out the database of past PsycSMP abstracts

Prospective PsycSMPs: A past student may have suggested a path for future research that you would like to follow!

Students can visit the College Archives (Calvert 009-ground floor) to read or view past St. Mary's Projects Mondays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (appointments recommended).

Access to a full SMP can depend on how a student completed a release form, but most SMPs can be read or viewed in the College Archives without restriction.

Electronic copies of SMPs are usually provided to faculty and staff upon request, but students are provided electronic copies of SMPs only with the permission of a faculty member.

Megan MacFarland

MacFarland, M. (2006). Sex differences in the effects of valium on neuronal activation and elevated plus-maze behavior in the rat.
Mentor: Dr. Anne Marie Brady


Females are diagnosed with anxiety disorders more frequently than males; however, the majority of animal and preclinical drug research is done with only male subjects. This study aimed to replicate and extend previous research, which has found evidence for sex differences, by examining sex differences and the effects of chronic diazepam (DZ) treatment on behavior in the elevated plus-maze and neuronal activation as assessed by Fos expression in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and the medial nucleus of the amygdala (MeA). Behavioral results supported the anxiolytic properties of DZ; however, did not illustrate sex differences. Maze-evoked Fos results found evidence for laterality, as well a DZ influenced decrease in activation, in both regions. Sex was found to interact with laterality in the MeA. Increased Fos expression was seen in the MeA in females when compared to males. It is possible that the activation is due to the anxiety-inducing event more than the animal's response to that event since no significant sex differences were seen in the behavior in the elevated plus-maze. The current study supports and expands previous research regarding drug effects in the elevated plus-maze and maze-evoked Fos expression, however, does not support findings of sex differences in elevated plus-maze behavior.

Read the paper (download the pdf)