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Liberal Arts and Sciences taps neuroscientist for associate dean post

February 10, 2010

Cheryl Conrad, a behavioral neuroscientist and faculty member in the department of psychology, has been named associate dean for research in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

In this new position, Conrad will serve as the main point of contact for issues related to research administration, research advancement and research facilities for the natural sciences in the college, said Sid Bacon, dean of natural sciences. She will work together with Bacon on issues in those areas.

“Dr. Conrad brings more than 20 years of experience in funded research and has a proven track record with major funding agencies, including the National Institutes of Health,” Bacon said.

“She also has experience and understands what it take to manage a research facility,” he noted.

Conrad, who is an associate professor in ASU’s Department of Psychology, is also affiliated faculty in the School of Life Sciences.

Her research specialization is to understand the neurological and anatomical outcomes of chronic stress as a model for depression. The goal of her research is to investigate the mechanisms by which stress influences brain plasticity and resilience.

Currently, Conrad is the principal investigator on a grant from the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission on “Stress and Estrogen Actions in the Female Hippocampus.” She points out that estrogens show some neuroprotective properties that may benefit females from the detrimental effects of chronic stress. Ongoing studies are investigating variables that underlie these outcomes.

In addition to research and teaching, Conrad has mentored more than 70 students and served four years as director of behavioral neuroscience in the psychology department.

“Dr. Conrad has demonstrated a talent for collaborative and effective working experiences with faculty and administrative leaders across disciplines. This experience will be critical as she helps lead the college in its continued rapid growth in research expenditures, which totaled about $100 million this past fiscal year,” Bacon said.

”Although Dr. Conrad’s primary responsibility will be in the natural sciences, she will play an important role in research administration throughout the college,” he added.

“The number of new and ongoing collaborative projects in the college is impressive. It is exciting to meet the extraordinary scientists in the natural sciences,” said Conrad. “ASU’s New American University model enables traditional disciplines to seamlessly interact, opening opportunities for collaborative research and the generation of novel concepts.

“My own research program has enormously benefited from collaborative projects with faculty from the division of behavioral neuroscience, within the department of psychology, across the colleges and schools of the university, and with colleagues at other institutions,” Conrad noted. “By providing opportunities to faculty to facilitate these interactions, ASU is contributing to the development of the next generation of cutting-edge ideas and technologies.”