The effect of stress on memory consolidation with the goal of identifying therapeutics for memory and anxiety disorders
Dr. Christa McIntyre is a leading researcher in the study of emotional modulation of memory storage. She investigates the physiological response to stress and its contribution to synaptic plasticity and memory. As part of this research, she found that stimulation of the vagus nerve promotes memory consolidation and synaptic plasticity while, at the same time, reducing anxiety. These findings suggest that vagus nerve stimulation may enhance the effects of treatments for anxiety disorders and posttraumatic stress disorders. Dr. McIntyre also uses behavioral pharmacology, optogenetics, and molecular approaches to study interactions of the amygdala, hippocampus and cortex during memory consolidation. Dr. McIntyre is a permanent member of the NIH biobehavioral regulation, learning and ethology study section and a review editor for the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. She was awarded the Aage Moller Teaching Award from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, the Dissertation Fellowship at the University of Virginia, and the Roger Russell Award at the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory in Irvine, California. Dr. McIntyre earned her bachelor’s degree from American University and her PhD from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
Recent Articles in Peer-Refereed Journals
Powers, M. B., Medina, J., Burns, S., Kauffman, B., Monfils, M., McIntyre, C.K., Diamond, A., & Smits, J. A. J. A case for exercise augmentation of exposure therapy: Rational and pilot data. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Accepted for publication January 28, 2015.
Childs, J.E., Alvarez, A.C., McIntyre, C.K., and Kroener, S. Vagus Nerve Stimulation as a Tool to Induce Plasticity in Pathways Relevant for Extinction Learning. Journal of Visualized Experiments. Accepted for publication January 16, 2015.
McReynolds JR, Anderson KM, Donowho KM, McIntyre C.K.. Noradrenergic actions in the basolateral complex of the amygdala modulate Arc expression in hippocampal synapses and consolidation of aversive and non-aversive memory. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2014.08.016. PMID:25196704.