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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Sondra Bland, Ph.D.

Email: Sondra Bland
Office Locatio​n: North Classroom 5010B
Phone: (303) 352-3722
Fax: (303) 556-3520
Office hours: M 2:00-3:00 pm; T 1:00-2:00 pm
Areas of Expertise: Behavioral Neuroscience

Education & Degrees

Ph.D., Psychology, University of Texas, Austin

B.A., Education, University of North Carolina, Charlotte


My research interests include the neurobiology of stress and addiction and how these can interact to affect the vulnerability of an individual to drug addiction. I am particularly interested in developmental aspects of stress/drug interactions and currently focus on adolescent models of stress. I am asking how adolescent social deprivation can combine with social cues during drug exposure to impact the effects of drugs such as cocaine and opioids on reward and neurochemistry. Other interests include the neurobiology of mood disorders such as social anxiety, sex differences in stress/drug interactions, and the role of glial cells on addiction and mood disorders. Some of the techniques I use are in vivo microdialysis and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to assess levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin in the brain, conditioned place preference to assess drug-seeking behavior, as well as immunohistochemistry to detect changes in protein expression, and in situ hybridization to detect changes in gene expression, within regions of the brain associated with reward and emotion, including the medial prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, and amygdala.

Select Publications

Bland S.T., Beckley J.T., Young S., Tsang V., Watkins L.R., Maier S.F., Bilbo S.D. (2010) "Enduring Consequences of Early-Life Infection on Glial and Neural Cell Genesis within Cognitive Regions of the Brain." Brain Behavior and Immunity 24:329-338.

Bland S.T., Beckley J.T., Watkins L.R., Maier S.F., Bilbo S.D. (2010) "Neonatal Escherichia Coli Infection Alters Glial, Cytokine, and Neuronal Gene Expression in Response to Acute Amphetamine in Adolescent Rats." Neuroscience Letters 474:52-57.

Bland, S.T., Hutchinson M R., Watkins L.R., Maier S.F. (2009). "The Glial Activation Inhibitor AV411 Reduces Morphine-Induced Nucleus Accumbens Dopamine Release and Precipitated Morphine Withdrawal." Brain Behavior and Immunity 23(4): 492-497.

Der-Avakian A., Bland S.T., Rozeske R.R., Tamblyn J.P., Hutchinson M.R., Watkins L.R., Maier S.F. (2007) "The Effects of a Single Exposure to Uncontrollable Stress on the Subsequent Conditioned Place Preference Responses to Oxycodone, Cocaine, and Ethanol in Rats." Psychopharmacology (Berl) 191(4):899-907.

Bland S.T., Schmid M.J., Greenwood B.N., Watkins L.R., Maier S.F. (2006) "Behavioral Control of the Stressor Modulates Stress-Induced Changes in Neurogenesis and Fibroblast Growth Factor-2." Neuroreport 17, 593-597.

Bland S.T., Schmid M.J., Der-Avakian A., Watkins L.R., Spencer R.L., Maier S.F. (2005) "Expression of C-Fos and BDNF mRNA in Subregions of the Prefrontal Cortex of Male and Female Rats after Acute Uncontrollable Stress." Brain Res 1051, 90-99.

Amat J., Baratta M.V., Paul E., Bland S.T., Watkins L.R., Maier S.F. (2005) "Medial Prefrontal Cortex Determines how Stressor Controllability Affects Behavior and Dorsal
Raphe Nucleus." Nature Neuroscience 8, 365-371.

Bland S.T., Twining C., Schmid M.J., Der-Avakian A., Watkins L.R., Maier S.F. (2004) "Stress Potentiation of Morphine-Induced Dopamine Efflux in the Nucleus Accumbens Shell is Dependent upon Stressor Uncontrollability and is Mediated by the Dorsal
Raphe Nucleus." Neuroscience 126, 705-715.

Bland S.T., Hargrave D., Pepin J.L., Amat J., Watkins L.R., Maier S.F. (2003) "Stressor Controllability Modulates Stress-Induced Dopamine and Serotonin Efflux and Morphine-Induced Serotonin Efflux in the Medial Prefrontal Cortex." Neuropsychopharmacology 28, 1589-1596.

Courses Taught

PSYC 4054: Behavioral Neuroscience