Psychology Department
Dr. Catherine E. Creeley

Dr. Catherine E. Creeley

Creeley's Photo


My research involves using animal models to investigate the effects of early drug exposure on brain development. The human fetal or infant brain is exposed to many different agents for a variety of reasons during critical and sensitive periods of neurodevelopment. The fetal brain may be exposed to drugs either through drug abuse by or therapeutic treatment of the mother – these psychoactive drugs easily cross the placenta into the fetal system and may affect neurodevelopmental processes critical to normal brain development. These drugs include sedatives, painkillers, antidepressants, antipsychotics and epilepsy medications. After birth, premature infants are exposed to weeks or even months of drug therapies that usually involve heavy doses of sedatives and analgesics that have the potential to disrupt normal neurodevelopment. It is well-known that very premature infants experience significant developmental delays, and we are just beginning to recognize that drug exposure may play a role in neurobehavioral outcome. The research in my lab involves using mouse models to investigate the effects of drugs on brain development and subsequent behavioral outcome.

I have also examined the effects of caffeine on memory and metamemory. Many students have beliefs about caffeine and memory that influence daily living and habits and especially may affect cognitive performance during test preparation and exams. The combination of caffeine with other agents available commercially and combining stimulants with alcohol is a relatively new practice that we do not know enough about. I hope to further this research at SUNY Fredonia so that college students can make informed decisions about caffeine use and abuse.


I am currently teaching Introductory Psychology, Research Methods and Health Psychology. I enjoy teaching introductory level courses as a way to begin to open minds about how much there is to learn about human behavior, and how a better understanding can allow us to lead better lives. As an Assistant Professor of Biopsychology, my teaching interests lie in courses that focus on biological and experimental psychology. In the past I have taught Drugs and Behavior, Human Learning and Memory, and General Psychology at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. In the future I hope to teach courses that bridge the gap between biology and psychology and would be appropriate for either major, such as Behavioral Neuroscience, The Human Brain, and Biological Psychology.

Student - Faculty Collaborations

An important part of the undergraduate experience, especially for those planning to attend graduate school, is to participate in laboratory research. It is my goal to provide students with the opportunity to be involved in all phases of scientific research. This involves the background literature review, the planning, design, and conduct of experiments, and the collection, analysis and interpretation of data – and presentation and/or publication of the results.

Selected Publications

Creeley, C.E., & Olney, J.W. (2013). Drug-induced apoptosis: Mechanism by which alcohol and many other drugs can disrupt brain development. Brain Sciences, 3, 1153-1181.

Yuede, C.M., Olney, J.W., & Creeley, C.E. (2013). Developmental neurotoxicity of alcohol and anesthetic drugs is augmented by co-exposure to caffeine. Brain Sciences, 3, 1128-1152.

Creeley, C., Dikranian, K., Dissen, G., Martin, L., Olney, J., & Brambrink, A. (2013). Propofol-induced apoptosis of neurones and oligodendrocytes in fetal and neonatal rhesus macaque brain. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 110, 29-38.

Brambrink, A.M., Back, S.A., Riddle, A., Gong, X., Moravec, M.D., Dissen, G.A., Creeley, C.E., Dikranian, K.T., & Olney, J.W. (2012). Isoflurane-induced apoptosis of oligodendrocytes in the neonatal primate brain. Annals of Neurology, 72(4), 525-35.

Brambrink, A.M., Evers, A.S., Avidan, M.S., Farber, N.B., Smith, D.J., Martin, L.D., Dissen, G.A., Creeley, C.E., & Olney, J.W. (2012). Ketamine-induced neuroapoptosis in the fetal and neonatal rhesus macaque brain. Anesthesiology, 116, 372-84.

Dribben, W.H., Creeley, C.E., & Farber, N. (2011). Low-level lead exposure triggers neuronal apoptosis in the developing mouse brain. Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 33, 473-80.

Creeley, C.E., & Olney, J.W. (2010). The young: Neuroapoptosis induced by anesthetics and what to do about it. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 1, 110-15.

Creeley, C.E., Wozniak, D.F., Nardi, A., Farber, N.B., & Olney, J.W. (2008). Donepezil markedly potentiates memantine neurotoxicity in the adult rat brain. Neurobiology Aging, 29, 153-67.

Creeley, C.E., Wozniak, D.F., Bayly, P.V., Olney, J.W., & Lewis, L.M. (2004). Multiple episodes of mild traumatic brain injury result in impaired cognitive performance in mice. Acadademic Emergency Medicine, 11, 809-19.

Kelemen W.L., & Creeley, C. E. (2001).  Caffeine (4 mg/kg) influences sustained attention and delayed free recall but not memory predictions.  Human Psychopharmacology, 16, 309-319.


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