What kinds of projects have our SMP students done?
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.
Cammarata, Erin (2011, May). Temporoammonic excitation of CA1 cells in an animal model of depression.
Mentor: Dr. Aileen Bailey
Depression is among the leading causes of mental disability in the world. The hippocampus plays an important role in depression. Patients with depression show hippocampal volume reductions shown by fMRI and hippocampal dysfunctions shown by deficits in spatial memory. Serotonin signaling in the hippocampus is thought to be impaired in patients with depression. Specifically, the TA-CA1 pathway connecting the hippocampus to the neocortex contains dense areas of 5HT1B receptors, and is involved in spatial memory function. Changes in serotonin’s potentiation of glutamatergic transmission at the TA pathway occur in animals with the CUS model of depression. Antidepressants, specifically fluoxetine, restore these changes to the potentiation at the TA pathway. According to this finding, animals with the CUS model of depression were predicted to have deficits in spatial memory because the TA pathway is linked to spatial memory functioning. In addition, it was hypothesized that fluoxetine would restore spatial memory function in animals with the CUS model of depression. This suggests that the activity of 5HT1B receptors at the TA pathway is involved in the etiology of depression, and that restoration of normal function to these synapses is critical to the therapeutic effects of antidepressants. The current study found significant evidence suggesting that CUS impaired spatial memory, but did not find any normalization of impairments mediated by fluoxetine.