About the Lab
Our laboratory is focused on the behavioral, neural, and endocrine factors that regulate social stress. We investigate social stress using a social defeat model in Syrian hamsters called conditioned defeat. We use a variety of techniques to investigate the neurobiological mechanisms controlling conditioned defeat including stereotaxic surgery, intracranial microinjections, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and immunohistochemistry. We are particularly interested in coping strategies and the mechanisms controlling vulnerability and resistance to social defeat stress.
Congratulations to the Cooper Lab's latest award winners!!
- Thomas Clarity (undergraduate) receives SfN Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Travel Award for 2019.
- Neha Sagarad (undergraduate) receives UT Office of Research summer assistantship for 2019.
- Alex Grizzell (graduate) and Thomas Clarity (undergraduate) win Best Poster Presentation Awards in respective categories at the 2018-2019 UT Psychology Department Banquet.
- The 2018 Brain Awareness Campaign was named the 2019 Innovative Program of the Year by The University of Tennessee, Division of Student Life. This campaign was directed by graduate student, Alex Grizzell, and its organization and execution involved virtually the entire Cooper Lab. This included a science writing workshop developed and led by Brooke Dulka (graduate), local elementary school classroom demonstrations by Annie Loewen (undergraduate), and front-of-house execution of admission and seating for nearly 900 guests at the event "Behave: The Biology of Good and Evil" with guest speaker, Dr. Robert Sapolsky (various Cooper Lab members).
- Graduate student, Alex Grizzell, accepts a postdoctoral research associate position with Dr. Mike Saddoris at The University of Colorado, Boulder. There, he will be investigating the potential for learned stress resilience in mitigating cocaine addiction.
- Graduate student, Brooke Dulka, successfully defends her doctoral thesis The Neurochemistry and Neural Circuitry of Stress Resilience. Congrats Dr. Dulka!!!
- Graduate student, Alex Grizzell was awarded $5,000 with Dr. Cooper from The University of Tennessee's Graduate School for his Student/Faculty Research Award proposal, "Neuroinflammatory mechanisms of stress vulnerability." Alex was also awarded a summer assistantship for $3,600 from The University of Tennessee's Office of Research & Engagement for the same project.
- Undergraduate Annie Loewen received a University of Tennessee Office of Research summer assistantship for 2017.
- Graduate student, Brooke Dulka accepts postdoctoral research associate position with Dr. Fred Helmstetter at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. There, she will be studying the neurobiology of Pavlovian fear conditioning with a focus on age-related deficits. Congrats Brooke!
- Graduate student, Alex Grizzell was given the 2018 Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award from The University of Tennessee Department of Psychology.
- Dr. Matthew Cooper was named the 2017 Undergraduate Faculty Research Mentor of the Year Award for the University of Tennessee College of Arts & Sciences, as well as the Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year Award at the Chancellor's Honors Banquet.
- Undergraduates, Kimberly Bress and Elena Bagetelas were awarded 1st and 2nd places for their oral presentations at the 4th Annual Women in STEM Research Symposium. Annie Loewen also placed 1st in the poster presentation competition.
- Kimberly Bress was named a 2017 Barry Goldwater Scholar.
- Brooke Dulka won the Outstanding Graduate Researcher award at the 2017 Psychology Department Banquet