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 Health Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Research Methods. As the Assistant Professor of Biopsychology, my teaching interests lie in courses that focus on biological and experimental psychology. My courses are focused on how the scientific method is used to learn about the human brain and our behavior.  In the past I have taught Drugs and Behavior, Human Learning and Memory, and Introductory Psychology. In the future I hope to teach more courses that bridge the gap between biology and psychology, and would be appropriate for either major, such as Behavioral Neuroscience, The Human Brain, and Psychopharmacology.

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, including literature reviews, designing and conducting experiments, collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data, and presentation and/or publication of the results. My behavioral neuroscience lab is in Jewett Hall. Each fall semester I accept independent study students who want to work in the lab for a full academic year, and get experience participating in a research project from start to finish. [If you are interested in pursuing an independent study position in the lab, please contact me by email to inquire].

Urtz K., Miller J., Kumar A., Michel K., Young J., and Creeley C. (2015). The developmental and behavioral effects of neonatal exposure to lithium. Poster presented at the17th annual Student Research and Creativity Exposition, State University of New York at Fredonia. 

Selected Publications

Creeley, C. E., Dikranian, K. T., Dissen, G. A., Back, S. A., Olney, J. W., & Brambrink, A. M. (2014). Isoflurane-induced apoptosis of neurons and oligodendrocytes in the fetal Rhesus Macaque brain. Anesthesiology120(3), 626–638.

Creeley, C. E., Dikranian, K. T., Johnson, S. A., Farber, N. B., & Olney, J. W. (2013). Alcohol-induced apoptosis of oligodendrocytes in the fetal macaque brain. Acta Neuropathologica Communications1, 23.

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.


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