Neuroscience Program

Robert F Smith

Robert F Smith

Robert F Smith

Professor

Emeritus

Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience: The effects of adolescent drug consumption, especially nicotine.

Dr. Smith received his BS from the University of Florida-Gainesville and his MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been at Mason for his entire professional career.

He served as chairman of the Psychology Department from 1995-2006 and served the college and university in a broad array of service roles. He has received awards for teaching [George Mason University Teaching Excellence Award; Raymond Fowler Award from the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students], advising [Outstanding Advisor, College of Arts & Sciences], and research [Distinguished Faculty Award]. 

Current Research

Dr. Smith’s research on development of brain and behavior focuses on the effects of adolescent drug consumption, especially nicotine. His lab has found that adolescent nicotine induces numerous, and persisting, changes in behavior, dendritic morphology, and neurochemistry, and that the first nicotine experience shapes later responses to nicotine. Recent work also investigates the variables which influence the development of single-trial nicotine preference in adolescence, including a strong effect of stress.

Selected Publications

J. Brielmaier, C.G. McDonald, R.F. Smith. Effects of acute stress on acquisition of nicotine conditioned place preference in adolescent rats: A role for corticotropin-releasing factor 1 receptors. Psychopharmacology, 2012, 219(1) 73-82.

 

Daniel G. Ehlingera,*, Hadley C. Bergstroma,1, Craig G. McDonalda, Robert F. Smitha. Nicotine induces persistent dendrite remodeling in the insular cortex. Neuroscience Letters, 2012 May 10; Vol. 516 (1), pp. 89-93.

 

Laura L. Locklear, Craig G. McDonald, Robert F. Smith, Karl J. Fryxell, Adult Inbred Mice Voluntarily Progress to Nicotine Dependence in an Oral Self-Selection Assay. Neuropharmacology, 2012, 63, 582-92.

 

Tracey Wheeler, Laura N Smith, Susan E Bachus, Craig G McDonald, Karl J Fryxell, Robert F Smith. (2013) Low-dose adolescent nicotine and methylphenidate have additive effects on adult behavior and neurochemistry. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 103(4),723-34.

 

Adriana M Falco; Craig G McDonald.; Susan E Bachus; Robert F Smith. Developmental alterations in locomotor and anxiety-like behavior as a function of D1 and D2 mRNA expression. Behavioural Brain Research, 2014, 260(1), 25-33.

 

Adriana, M. Falco, Craig G. McDonald, Robert F. Smith. 2014. Anxiety status affects nicotine- and baclofen-induced locomotor activity, anxiety, and single-trial conditioned place preference in male adolescent rats. Developmental Psychobiology 56(6), 1352-64.

Courses Taught

Psyc 100: Introduction to Psychology

Psyc 372: Physiological Psychology

NSCI 260 : Introduction to Neuroscience

Psyc 559: Behavioral Chemistry

Psyc 561 : Behavioral Biology of Substance Abuse

Psyc 592: Special Topics: Developmental Psychobiology

Recent Presentations

J. M. BRIELMAIER, C. G. MCDONALD, R. F. SMITH. Effects of stress on nicotine conditioned place preference in adolescent rats. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC, Nov 15-19, 2008.

A. M. FALCO, C. G. MCDONALD, R. F. SMITH; Age-dependent locomotor changes after an acute dose of nicotine in male Long-Evans hooded rats. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC, Nov 15-19, 2008.

A. K. EPPOLITO, S. E. BACHUS, C. G. MCDONALD, R. F. SMITH; Persistent alterations in cholinergic subunit mRNA expression following chronic prenatal and early postnatal exposure to nicotine. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC, Nov 15-19, 2008.

H. C. BERGSTROM, C. G. MCDONALD, R. F. SMITH; Prior chronic nicotine exposure produces age-dependent enhancement of the cued fear response. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC, Nov 15-19, 2008.

T. L. WHEELER, S. E. BACHUS, C. G. MCDONALD, T. D. PARRY, R. F. SMITH; Nicotine and methylphenidate have long-term additive effects on behavioral tolerance and mRNA indices of dopamine and NMDA receptors in the mPFC and striatum in the rodent. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC, Nov 15-19, 2008.

L. N. SMITH, S. E. BACHUS, C. G. MCDONALD, R. F. SMITH; Differential expression of dopamine receptor-related mRNAs following chronic nicotine treatment in adolescent and adult rats. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC, Nov 15-19, 2008.

S. G. COLEMAN, C. G. MCDONALD, R. F. SMITH; Changes in anxiety-like behavior throughout adolescence in the rat. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC, Nov 15-19, 2008.

J. M. BRIELMAIER, C. G. MCDONALD, H. BERGSTROM, G. FERNANDEZ, R. F. SMITH; Environmental novelty modulates long-term sensitization to nicotine following a single exposure in adolescence. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL, Oct 17-21, 2009.

E. D. SEARS, J. M. BRIELMAIER, C. G. MCDONALD, *R. F. SMITH; Social context during a single nicotine exposure in adolescence affects neurobehavioral response to drug challenge in adulthood. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL, Oct 17-21, 2009.

Dissertations Supervised

Adriana Marie Falco, Individual Differences in Locomotion, Anxiety-like Behavior, and Reward After Acute Nicotine and Baclofen Administration (2012)

Daniel Ehlinger, Rapidly Emerging Adolescent Nicotine-Induced Dendritic Remodeling Is D1-Dopamine Receptor Dependent (2014)

Gina Fernandez, The Role of Context Preference and Age on Single Trial Nicotine Conditioned Place Preference, and the Role of Dosing Context on MAPK Activation in the Ventral Striatum (2014)