Dr. Steve Maren
Claude H. Everett ’47 Jr. Chair of Liberal Arts
University Distinguished Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Education: Ph.D. Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (1993); M.S. Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (1991); B.A. Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1989).
Research interests: The neural mechanisms underlying emotional learning and memory in animals, and the relevance of these mechanisms to clinical disorders of fear and anxiety, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in humans.
Tell us about Texas A&M’s new brain science initiative.
"In a nutshell, it’s a campus initiative built to explore the mysteries of the brain. We’re increasing research activities in neuroscience in animals and humans, and the initiative has resulted in faculty hires in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (formerly the psychology department). We research things such as post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction and compulsive behaviors."
Illustration of the brain
What sets Texas A&M apart in brain science research?
is strongly collaborative among several of the major units on campus, including the veterinary school and the colleges of medicine, engineering, liberal arts and science. We have strong animal research and human research sitting side-by-side, which makes us well-positioned to tackle issues of brain function across many levels of analysis." Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience
What happens to the brain when someone experiences trauma?
"Traumatic experiences cause a host of changes in the brain, some of which persist for hours, and others that persist for months or even years. Long-lasting changes include hyperactivity in the amygdala—an area of the brain involved in emotions, such as fear—and decreases in the activity of the prefrontal cortex—an area involved with emotional regulation."